Akwa Ibom - Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Monday passed a bill, approving a whooping N200 million annual pay for Godswill Akpabio; among other perks.
The assembly also approved the construction of a mansion which would serve as Akpabio’s retirement home; in addition to brand new cars, befitting furniture and other luxuries, for the rest of his life.
Akpabio had forwarded the bill known as Akwa Ibom State Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill, 2014, to the assembly through a letter dated May 15.
To underscore the urgency of the proposed law, the ghovernor had indicated that he wanted it passed hurriedly so it could come into force on June 1.
However, the bill was received by the Acting Clerk of the assembly, Mandu Umoren, on May 19.
After a prolonged executive session on Thursday, the lawmakers came out and put the bill through first and second reading just as Akpabio directed.
While labour and civil society groups mobilised their members for a showdown with both the governor and the state lawmakers, the assembly on Monday sat in its so-called Committee of the Whole and considered the bill, clause by clause.
Immediately the proposed law scaled through the Committee of the whole, the assembly reverted to plenary and adopted the report of the Committee.
The motion for the bill to be read the third time was moved and seconded by Deputy House Leader, Ekaete Okon and Aniekan Akpan, a member from Ukanafun state constituency respectively.
After passage, the leadership of the House directed the clerk of the assembly to forward a clean copy of the bill to Akpabio for assent.
Under the new law, Akpabio and former democratically elected governors of the state and their deputies as well as indigenes of the state who served in similar positions in Cross River State, will pocket several millions in monthly retirement perks.
Based on Section 1(1) of the law, “An indigene of the state who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of former Cross River State and a person who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of the state shall when he ceases to hold office be entitled,” to the new perks.
Although similar laws have been passed by many Nigerian governors including those of Lagos, Rivers, Bauchi and Benue states, among others, Akpabio’s version is clearly the most ludicrous.
Under it, Akpabio and others listed in Section 1(1) are entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate equivalent to his current salary.
Similarly, the serving deputy governor, Valerie Ebe, is entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate of her current salary.
Mr. Akpabio and his deputy; Mrs. Ebe will therefore pocket a total of N2 223 705.00; and N2 112 215.00 respectively as monthly and a total of N26 684 460,00 and N25 346 580 respectively as pension, per annum.
This is based on approved remuneration package for state executive and local government executives by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
The governor is also entitled to a new official car and a utility vehicle once every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government.
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