A total of N13,805,814,220 has been proposed for the payment of pensions to former Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Heads of State, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, as well as retired heads of government agencies and parastatals in the 2023 fiscal year.
The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, as well as Vice-Presidents Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo, among others. PUNCH reports.
Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Head of States, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
It is, however, not clear if the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and his deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, will benefit from the largesse as they will hand over power on May 29, 2023. Buhari served as Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985 before he was booted out of office in a palace coup.
In the 2023 appropriation budget appropriation, which was highlighted under the service wide vote of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National planning, it was stated that a total of N2.3bn would be for “entitlements of former presidents/heads of states and vice-presidents/chief of general staff.”
An analysis of the proposal revealed that a total of N10.5bn would serve as “benefits of retired heads of service and permanent secretaries.”
The budget also revealed that a total of N1bn would be paid as “severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals.”
At state level, governors and their deputies are also entitled to humongous pensions when they leave office and a number of former chief executives of the various states are known to be beneficiaries of the huge pensions, which include monthly payment, purchase of new vehicles, building of mansions and payment of domestic workers.
In his reaction, the Chancellor, International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, Jackson Omenazu, said though paying benefits to past governors and presidents was not wrong, it should be based on their performance, which should be decided by the people.
Omenazu stated, “I think for those who served well and diligently, that is fine, but it shouldn’t be general, and I believe some of them aren’t worth it. There is no justification for the payment of pension.
“They (former presidents and ex-governors) are supposed to even return the salaries they took while in office, because there is nothing to show for it; rather, they worsened the situation of the country and their states.” Punch
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