SERAP drags Akpabio, others to court, wants them to stop collecting salaries as senators
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and 9 other former governors in the 10th Senate over their collection of both salaries and pensions as senators.
This is coming barely 3 weeks after the advocacy group filed a similar lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu over his failure to stop former governors who are now serving as ministers in his administration from collecting life pensions and other ‘retirement benefits’ from their states while they serve as ministers.
Joined in the suit as Respondents are the following senators and ministers: Abdulaziz Yari; Aminu Tambuwal; Adamu Aliero; Adams Oshiomole; Ibrahim Gaidam; Seriake Dickson; Ibrahim Dankwambo; Aliyu Wammako; Gbenga Daniel, and Dave Umahi.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1360/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking:
“An order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr. Akpabio, nine other senators, and Mr. Umahi to stop collecting both salaries and pensions and to return any pensions collected to their respective state treasuries.
What SERAP is seeking
SERAP is seeking:
“An order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio, nine other senators, and Mr Umahi to clarify and disclose if they have collected and/or currently collecting both salaries and pensions as former governors.”
SERAP is also seeking:
“An order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio, nine other senators, and Mr Umahi to disclose the details and amounts of the pensions so far received by them.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that:
“The Seventh Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) requires the former governors to stop collecting both salaries and pensions and to return any pensions collected.”
SERAP is arguing that “Unless the reliefs sought are granted, the former governors would continue to both enjoy life pension packages, and collect salaries as serving public officers, and the travesty and private self-interest would continue.”
SERAP also argues that
“It is a fundamental breach of their fiduciary duties for former governors to collect both salaries and pensions. The alleged collection by former governors of double emoluments is detrimental to the public interest.”
According to SERAP, “Collecting pensions as former governors and salaries while serving as public officers is a flagrant violation of the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution and the public trust.”
SERAP also argues that
“It is a travesty for former governors to be looking after themselves while over 137 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidy.”
Other contents of the suit
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part:
“The UN Convention against Corruption requires public officials to discharge a public duty truthfully and faithfully.
“The UN Convention also implicitly prohibits large severance benefits for public officials. The convention specifically in Article 8 requires public officers to promote integrity and responsibility in the management of public resources.
“Paragraph 2 (a) of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the Nigerian Constitution provides in part: a public officer shall not receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other public office.
“Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo in a landmark judgment dated 26 November 2019 also indicated that double emoluments for former governors are unacceptable, unconstitutional, and illegal.
“Constitutional oath of office requires public officials including former governors in the Senate and serving as ministers to abstain from all improper acts, including collecting life pensions. A false oath lacks truth and justice. The oath statements require the oath takers to commit to uphold and defend the Constitution.
“According to reports, there are fourteen former governors in the Senate and as ministers who may be collecting pensions running into billions of naira from their states. The former governors include Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom State); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo State); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi State); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto State); and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger State).
“Others are: Ibrahim Danwkambo (Gombe State); Danjuma Goje (Gombe State); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara State); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun State); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto State); Orji Kalu (Abia State); Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe State); and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa State). Also, there are at least seven former governors in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet who are reportedly collecting both salaries and pensions.
“The states currently implementing life pensions for former governors reportedly include Akwa-Ibom, Abia, Edo, Jigawa, Niger, Kebbi, Kano, Ogun, Sokoto, Jigawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Benue, Gombe, Yobe, Taraba, Kaduna, Plateau, Katsina, Rivers, and Delta.’’
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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Full Story: https://nairametrics.com/2023/10/08/serap-drags-akpabio-others-to-court-wants-them-to-stop-collecting-salaries-as-senators/
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