21/06/2021

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Lagos: Bill to repeal pension law scales second reading

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The bill scaled the second reading by the Clerk of the House, Mr Lekan Onafeko, at plenary on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pension Law 2007, introduced 14 years ago, makes provision for the payment of juicy pension and other entitlements to former elected governors and their deputies in the state.

Onafeko said that the bill is titled ‘A Bill to Repeal the Law to Provide for the Payment of Pensions and other Fringe Benefits to Public Office Holders in Lagos State and for other Connected Matters’.

However, some lawmakers argued that it would not be too good to repeal the law in its entirety as there were some important sections and stipulations that should be considered.

Speaking, Oluyinka Ogundimu (Agege II), explained that the bill was to ensure the stoppage of pensions to governors and deputies when they leave office.

Ogundimu also said that the bill was in consideration of the country’s current economic challenges.

Ogundimu, however, said the governors, their deputies and other such political office holders should be made to enjoy some benefits no matter how little.

The lawmaker argued that the bill should be amended in such a way that it would not throw former political officers to security challenges if the original law was repealed.

According to him, the new bill should not withdraw all the security agents and domestic staff earlier attached to them due to the security challenges in the country.

On his part, Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa II), noted that the parliament has the power to make and review laws, especially where it includes one like the pension.

According to him, bill that was passed 14 years ago and needs to be looked at again.

Yishawu said that the objective of the bill as raised by the executive was to ensure that the state begins to look inward in relation to cost of governance.

“By virtue of my position as chairman of the committee on economic planning and budget, I have had the opportunity to check the finances of the state.

“I would say Lagos is not very rich, but only has people who effectively manage its resources,” he said.

He also agreed that the security of the lives of such political office holders when they leave office should be considered, urging that the bill be committed to a committee.

Contributing, Mr Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu II), said he supported an amendment to the law instead of a repeal.

He said, “For a person who has served as chief executive of a state, I do not think it is nice denying them of their benefits.

“I can appreciate that some of them move to other appointments. For these people, there can be a caveat.

“However, for those who serve in that capacity and do not have any other thing to do after office, it may not be something elaborate, but something may be coming to them periodically.”

Other lawmakers who supported amendment to the law include Mr Jude Idimogu (Oshodi-Isolo II), Mr Saad Olumo (Ajeromi-Ifelodun I) and Mr Abdulsobur Olawale (Mushin II).

The Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, while rounding off the debate, observed the questions and suggestions raised by the lawmakers.

Obasa also supported arguments that repealing the law in totality would expose former governors and deputies to security challenges.

He said based on the suggestions raised by lawmakers on the floor, I did not think the bill should be trashed in totality.

Obasa, however, committed the bill to the House Committee on Establishment with a two-week mandate for a report to be submitted.