The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has called on Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, to bow to public opinion and abrogate the new pension law entirely instead of trying to review it.
In a statement issued in Lagos, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that, in a state where the majority of the citizens live below poverty line, the state government enacted the 2014 Pension bill which makes it possible for former governors and deputy governors of Akwa Ibom State to draw a pension allowance of N140,000,000 annually.
The ASCSN posited that Akpabio’s pension law is not only a waste of public funds but offends the sensibility of right-thinking members of the society.
It added that the governor’s attempt to review the Pension Law by introducing Health Insurance Scheme for himself, his wife, and the Deputy fell short of public expectation.
“We demand that the Pension Law should be repealed entirely because the whopping pension benefits for the Governor, his wife and the Deputy Governor would wreck the economy of the State.
“We wondered why the Governor and his Deputy should receive humongous sums as terminal benefit after four or eight years of service when other public servants, including civil servants who serve the state for 35 years are paid pittance as gratuity and pension,” the union emphasised.
The union contended that it was bad enough that the law is designed for the benefit of few privileged individuals and their wives but for the Governor to have packaged N200 million life pension for himself was the height of insensitivity.
According to the union, record from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Akwa Ibom State generates about N1 billion internally monthly and wondered where Governor Akpabio would expect the state to generate fund to pay the huge benefits and meet other financial commitment of the State if there is a drop in Federal Allocation to the state.
“The main argument for jumbo pay of political office holders was that they are not entitled to pension. Now, they award to themselves whopping gratuity and pension designed to massage their insatiable greed. The worse part of it is that these are the same set of individuals complaining that N18, 000 minimum wage per month is on the high side, “ the union lamented.
While calling on Governor Akpabio to repeal the pension law, the union equally advised other state governments in particular Rivers, Lagos, Borno, Gombe, Kano, etc that had passed similar legislations to abrogate them without further delay.
The union also enjoined the trade union movement, the civil society groups, prominent citizens, religious leaders, and all men and women of goodwill in the to stand up against the emerging pension laws in the States which are designed to hand over the entire budgets to public office holders.