Illegal pension: I’m determined to comply with court order ― Malami

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on Thursday expressed his determination to comply with court judgement ordering him to recover pensions so far collected by former governors who moved on to other political offices.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

It also directed Malami ‘to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.

The suit was filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project which made an application for an order of mandamus in suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo.

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Among those affected by the judgement are former governor of Akwa Ibom who is current Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Lagos state and current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, former Senate President and former governor of Kwara state, Bukola Saraki, and governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, among others.

According to SERAP, the recently repealed pension law in Zamfara state allowed former governors to receive pension for life; two personal staff; two vehicles replaceable every four years; two drivers, free medical for the former governors and deputies and their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad; a 4-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office; free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

At least 22 states starting from Lagos have passed life pensions’ laws for former governors and other ex-public officials. Others include Akwa Ibom; Edo; Delta; Kano; Gombe; Yobe; Borno; Bauchi; Abia; Imo; Bayelsa; Oyo; Osun; Kwara; Ondo; Ebonyi; Rivers; Niger; Kogi; and Katsina states.

In a statement issued by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Minister of Justice said Federal Government will be guided by the public interest in complying with the court order.

“We will work and be guided by the legalities of the case the dictates of justice and public interest in complying with the judgment,” the Minister said.

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