NO RETIREMENT PAY FOR GOWON, BUHARI, IBB, ABDULSALAMI, SHONEKAN -SENATE
The Senate yesterday passed a Bill barring all former military heads of state and presidents that got to power through undemocratic means from benefiting in a new remuneration package for former Nigerian leaders, heads of the legislature and the judicial arms of government.
When the bill eventually gets Presidential assent, former heads of state among who are Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Muhammadu Buhari, Abdulsalami Abubakar and former Head of the Interim National Government (ING) Chief Ernest Shonekan would stop enjoying retirement benefits as former presidents and heads of state.
In her presentation of the Bill, Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Planning, Senator Zaynab Kure (PDP, Niger) explained that the thrust of the Bill is essentially to amend Decree 32 of 1999 by ensuing that only democratically elected former presidents are entitled to remuneration in the schedule for the to the bill.
The bill however provides for the remuneration of former democratically elected presidents, vice presidents, senate presidents, deputy senate presidents, speakers and deputy speakers of the House of Representatives and chief justices of the federation.
The Bill also provides that members of families or deceased former presidents and vice presidents shall be entitled to annual payments as shall be recommended by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and approved by the National Assembly.
The remuneration according to the wisdom of the Senators is to take care of the up-keep of spouse(s) and children of a deceased former president and deceased former vice president in addition to the education of the children up to the university level or its equivalent.
During the debate on the bill, majority of Senators argued against former military heads of state benefitting from the remuneration package owing to the fact that they acquired power through means that breached Section 1(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
In his contribution, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora (AC, Lagos) said allowing former military rulers to benefit from the package would amount to encouraging truncation of democracy, stressing that the National Assembly should not be seen to be encouraging anything that will undermine democracy.
However, the President of the Senate David Mark said that the clause in the bill which recognises former Presidents and Heads of State is already in line with the Constitution and does not require further emphasis by inclusion of elected.