Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has called on Senator Akpabio and other former governors in the executive and legislature to follow the example of Senators Daniel and Dankwambo by immediately rejecting the payment of what he deems an “illegal pension.”
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Falana, who chairs the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, issued this appeal in a statement on Sunday.
Recalling that Senators Gbenga Daniel and Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo have ceased receiving what he refers to as the “scandalous pension” in compliance with court judgments, Falana praised their actions, particularly at a time when more than 20 former governors in executive and legislative roles continue to draw double salaries.
In a significant judgment rendered on November 26, 2019, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo (now retired) declared the payment of such pensions illegal and unconstitutional. As a result, the Court directed the Accountant-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to recover life pensions collected by former governors now serving as Senators and Ministers.
Furthermore, in suit NO: NICN/JOS/26/2016 (Alhaji Garba Umar v Taraba State Government), Justice K. I. Amadi of the National Industrial Court nullified the payment of pension and gratuity to former governors and deputy governors. This pension was previously authorized under Taraba State Governor and Deputy Governor’s Pension Law 2015.
Falana has consistently spoken out against the payment of pensions to ex-governors, particularly those elected as legislators or appointed in the Federal Executive after their tenures as governors.
Additionally, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), in a suit (FHC/L/CS/1497/2017) filed against the Attorney-General of the Federation at the Federal High Court, challenged the constitutional validity of the pensions paid to former governors in Nigeria.
Senator Daniel served as Ogun State governor from 2003 to 2011 and currently represents Ogun East Senatorial District, while Senator Dankwambo governed Gombe State from 2011 to 2019 and now serves as the Senator representing Gombe North Senatorial District.