A former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Chief Nestor Binabo, has appealed to Governor Seriake Dickson to halt ongoing payment of monthly pensions for former governors and their deputies in the state.
Binabo, who commended Dickson for mustering political will to withdraw his assent on the controversial pension bill for state lawmakers, said the governor’s action would be complete if he stopped ongoing pensions for his predecessors.
The former acting governor, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), explained the state still harboured the Pension Law for Governors and Deputy Governors, 2003.
He said: “In 2003 the then House of Assembly passed the Pension Bill for governors and deputy governors, which was signed into law by the then governor of the state.
“It has come to my notice that the recent development is an effort by the current members of the House to repeal the 2003 Law and to make a new law, which would include their pensions as well as enhanced the pension benefits of the governors and their deputies.
“Fortunately following the outcries of members of the public, Governor Dickson rejected the new bill. This means that the state will revert to the subsisting 2003 pension law.
“This is still immoral. The right thing to do is to repeal the 2003 pension law for governors and deputies.
“I have maintained the view that no political office holder including governors and deputy governors should be pensionable.
“There may be a need to provide security to former governors and their deputies, but they should not be paid pensions. Pensions are the exclusive rights of civil servants, who use significant number of their years to serve their states”.
Binabo said Dickson would further endear himself to the people if he took a bold step to initiate action for the abrogation of the 2003 pension law.
“We have had a crop of politicians especially governors and their deputies, who already leveraged on their elective positions to prepare better future for themselves and their families.
“These politicians within their periods in offices acquired exotic cars, mansions in different parts of the country and abroad as well as assets in companies.
“It will be a disservice and in fact a double jeopardy for such persons to continue to impoverish, under-develop and fleece the state in the name of pensions.
“Bayelsa over the years is still having teething problems of development. There is no water, no electricity, dearth of basic infrastructures, large illiterate population and ravaging poverty, yet we pay huge amount of money as pensions to former governors and their deputies. This should also stop”.
Binabo further appealed to civil society groups, activist and residents to rise and demand an end to the subsisting 2003 executive-induced rascality that awarded pensions to former governors and their deputies.
He also asked the current lawmakers to repair the damage done to the image of the legislative arm of government in the state and restore legislative confidence by initiating a move to repeal the 2003 pension law.