The Federal Government has asked Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to “send the full list of former governors and ministers that have received and/or receiving double pay and life pensions; in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the judgment of the court.”
This was a sequel to the judgement in 2019; with SERAP ordering the government to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws and recover public funds collected by former governors and ministers.
SERAP had earlier sent a letter to Abukabar Malami; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; asking him to “advise and persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to fully enforce the judgment.”
Malami, in his reply, stated, “I am writing to inform your esteemed organization to furnish me with the full list of the former governors and ministers; which are affected by the judgment by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo; in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the ruling of the Honourable Court.”
Responding, SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said; “We welcome your request for the full list of former governors and ministers.
“Any further delay in the enforcement of the judgment will continue to undermine the authority; and integrity of the Nigerian judiciary.
“Nigerians cannot wait for you to take legal action to scrap states’ pension laws and fully recover the public funds collected.”
SERAP’s response dated 5 March 2020, reads in part: “We hope this judgment will be implemented duly and promptly for the sake of integrity; accountability and proper management of public resources by state governors.
“By implementing the judgment; the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will be demonstrating the important role; that our judiciary can play in the fight against corruption in the country.
“However, we urge you to urgently ask anti-corruption agencies and other appropriate agencies of government to verify these claims; and to investigate the cases of other former governors and ministers that have collected and/or still collecting double pay and life pensions; and to publish the findings of any such investigations.”
“Similarly, public records also show that at least 22 states have passed life pensions laws; allowing payment of life pensions to former governors and other ex-public officials.
“These states include Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Edo, Delta, Kano, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Rivers, Niger, Kogi, as well as Katsina.”
The court also directed the government to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws; permitting former governors as well as other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.