The National Industrial Court has declared as null and void, payment of pension and gratuity to former governors and deputy governors.
The court gave the judgment on Thursday while ruling in a suit brought against the Taraba State government by Alhaji Garba Umar.
Umar, the Claimant, was once the acting governor of Taraba State. He had dragged the state government to the court, claiming that he was entitled to gratuity as a former governor of the state, 300 per cent of his salary as medical allowance and other benefits as provided in Taraba State Governor and Deputy Governor’s Pension Law, 2015.
But in its ruling, the court held that it appeared that there was a “contradiction by the provision of section 124(5) ‘of the 1999 Constitution’ which enabled the House of Assembly of a state to provide for pension or gratuity to governors and deputy governors which items are also placed under the exclusive legislative list under Part 1, of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.”
“The question then is how to reconcile these two provisions of the constitution. The answer is by adopting a purposeful approach by which the court is required to look at the constitution as a whole and construe its provisions in such a way as to give effect to the general & specific purposes for which it was enacted; that is good governance and the welfare of all Nigerian based on the principles of equality and justice.”
The court went further to hold that the state houses of assembly in Nigeria lacked the power to fix any amount in remuneration to its past governors and deputy governors as “pension or gratuity unless the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission first of all determined an amount as pension and gratuity to past governors and deputy governors in which case such amount, so fixed, shall not exceed the amount as have been determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.”
It said since the commission had not fixed any amount as pension and gratuity to past governors and deputy governors in Nigeria that any law made by any state house of assembly granting pension and gratuity to its past governors and deputy governors was therefore null and void.
The court, therefore, ruled that the Taraba State governor and deputy governor’s pension law, 2015 is null and void.”
Recall that a Federal High Court in Lagos had also in early December 2019, given a similar judgment.
Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo ruling on an application for an order of mandamus in suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), had ordered the federal government to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly, and directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.
Breaking: Labour Suspends Today Planned Strike As FG Reverses Electricity Tariff Hike
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).
This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.
After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.
Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday morning.
He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.
“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”
The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.
Senator Abbo’s followers Pledge Loyalty To Gov Fintiri
Some key followers of Sen Ishaku Abbo of Adamawa North District have declared a shifting of loyalty to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.
Although, Abbo is in the same Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) with the state governor, Abbo has been a critic of both the party and the governor, waging an unending battle against both.
In an action indicating disaffection against him by some within his own support base on Friday, however, many among his supporters visited Governor Fintiri, pledging their loyalty to him.
Members of the delegation to the Government House in Yola, led by Abbo Support Group’s former Coordinator, Peter Ishaya Kwache, told Fintiri that he now had their “complete shift of loyalty”.
Mr. Kwache said they were members of the PDP, who worked to ensure the success of all candidates of the party in the 2019 general election, particularly Abbo, but that they had for a while been at a loss about Abbo’s relentless criticism of the party and the government led by Fintiri.
Water Bill: A Northern Agenda To Righten The Noose On The South – Rep Member
The Member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Waive, has described the Water Resources Bill as a Northern agenda to tighten the noose on the Southern part of the country.
Hon Waive who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from Delta State in a statement, weekend while expressing concerns on the bill, explained that though some provisions in the bill are welcoming and warm, because of the nature of governance and the tendencies to misuse powers in the country, “we cannot at this point in time properly handle this kind of a law without causing more harm than good.”
According to him, “One will be tempted to ask, what is the intention behind this law? Is it really for the general good of the Nigerian people as it states? How well has the various natural resources been managed for the general good?”
Speaking further, he said: “The oil from the Niger Delta region has not positively impacted the life of the people from the Niger Delta and the one who bears the impact of the exploration activities.
“The various River Basins which are currently under the control of the government, has not been properly managed; instead it has been grossly politicized, how then can the government manage and control all the water bodies in the country.
“According to public opinion this law is a Northern agenda to further tighten the noose on the South, because obviously the majority of the states from the middle belt down south are surrounded by water. There is also a high resemblance of intentions of some provisions of this act with that of the unsuccessful RUGA bill.
“In my opinion, the bill is of no immediate benefit to the generality of the populace at this point in time, plus we have not developed enough as a country to be able to properly manage all the resources we have to now begin to look at water. Water is the least of our problems as a country.”
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