Anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, not to assent to a bill seeking life pension, luxury vehicles and foreign medical trips for members of the Kano State House of Assembly.
Rather than give assent to the bill, SERAP, in an open letter on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, urged Ganduje to prevail upon the lawmakers to drop the bill.
It admonished Ganduje to prevail upon the lawmakers “to subordinate their interests to the public good, live on fair and equal terms with their fellow citizens, and not use their legislative powers to convert public resources to their own benefit.”
However, SERAP said should Ganduje ignore its admonition and goes ahead to assent to the bill, he should be ready to face legal actions, both nationally and internationally.
While condemning the proposed life pension for the Kano lawmakers, SERAP argued that it not only violated the principles of legal justice and the rule of law but also betrayed the trust reposed in the lawmakers by the people.
It said if assented to, the bill would lead to a misuse of trust property and threaten to affect the welfare of the people of Kano by diverting public funds from development and provision of access to quality education, clean water and health care to the personal benefits of members of the House of Assembly.
SERAP said, “This bare desire by the lawmakers of the Kano State House of Assembly to pass a bill to award to themselves life pensions, foreign medical trips and brand new vehicles every four years is oppressive and violates the obligation of impartiality to the people of Kano they are elected to serve and the ideals of fiduciary government. The bill, proposed by Baffa Baba Dangundi, is a textbook case of diversion of public resources to private purposes.
“Rather than passing bills to divert public resources for personal benefits, the lawmakers should pass legislation that will urgently address the chronic problem of over three million out-of-school children in Kano (the highest in Nigeria) and ensure immediate payment of outstanding pensions and workers’ salaries, given that the state government has already received N21.7bn from the Paris Club debt refund, and also reportedly received in 2018 N84.2bn from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
“Government is a trust for the benefit of the governed, and members of the Kano State House of Assembly ought to be guardians of justice, general good and public interests. There is indeed a duty on the lawmakers to subordinate their own interests to those they are supposed to serve. But rather than acting as the ‘servants of the people,’ the lawmakers have acted in a self-serving way and pushing to enrich themselves at the expense of the people of Kano.”