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Public Office Holders Pension Bill: Stakeholders Demand Extension Of Benefits To Other Government Officials

A bill seeking to have Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, his deputy and their predecessors earn 100 percent of their basic salaries in addition to other benefits when they leave office, has received knocks as stakeholders demand the extension of the benefits to other government officials.
The bill which was earlier been presented on the floor of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was later committed to a committee of finance headed by Hon. Josiah Olu, law maker representing Eleme Constituency for a public hearing.
According to the bill, the governor will be provided with two houses in any place of their choice in Abuja and Rivers state. He will also have three cars that will be replaced every three years and receive 300 percent funding for furniture of his choice, among others.
The benefits available to the deputy governor only come with slight difference from that of the governor.
Addressing stakeholders at the public hearing, the Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, disclosed that the aim of the bill when passed into law, is to take care of the holders of the offices, stressing that such will be in place if they were not impeached before the expiration of their tenure.
In his speech, Hon. Josiah Olu, the chairman on finance committee noted that the bill was to ensure that similar laws made in 2003 is restructured, stressing that the endeavour is guided by the provision of section 124, subsection 1 and 2 of the 1999 constitution. The commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Charles Gogo, said the bill is to ensure that those who leave office do not regret leaving office.
According to him, the bill is an attempt to domesticate the federal act, and a great improvement in the existing Rivers State law of 2003. “If you know that if you serve as a governor and completed your tenure, you will be remunerated for life, then the tendency to be corrupt will be reduced,” he added.
However, stakeholders who spoke at the public hearing such as Hon. Steven Ezekwem, former speaker Rivers State House of Assembly who represented former lawmakers forum, Mr. Ngozi Abu the Rivers State Accountant General, Mrs. Osioko Obelle, Chairman Rivers State Internal Revenue, Mrs. Alikor, Chairman Rivers State Pension board, Mr. Demion Ejiowhor, former Chairman of Emohua LGA, Dr. Obionko Worlu Elechi, Rector Rivers State Polytechnic, Mr. J.J. Agu, Secretary, Pension board and a representative of Student Union Government, SUG, Uniport chapter, among others, described the bill as timely and commendable, but expressed desire to have former lawmakers, elected local government chairmen, former councilors, elected government officials and student union leaders benefit from the law. ###

Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor

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