Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have opposed the total scrapping of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007).
The law ensures payment of pensions and other benefits to former governors Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode and their deputies.
The house, on Monday, read for a second time a bill that seeks to repeal the law.
The new bill which was debated on the floor of the house at a sitting presided over by the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, is titled ‘A bill for a law 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’.
The 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 concerning the bill, Oluyinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), explained that the bill is to ensure the stoppage of pensions to governors and deputies when they leave office adding that this decision was in consideration of the country’s current economic challenges.
Ogundimu argued that the governors and their deputies and other such political office holders should be made to enjoy some benefits no matter how little.
He also argued that the bill should be amended in such a way that it would not throw former political officers to security challenges since if the original law is repealed, it would mean withdrawing all security agents and domestic staff earlier attached to them.
In his remarks, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said the objective of the bill as raised by the executive is to ensure that the state begins to look inward in relation to the cost of governance.
He added that by virtue of his position as chairman of the committee on economic planning and budget, he has had the opportunity to check the finances of the state and would say Lagos is not very rich, but only has people who effectively manage its resources.
Yishawu also agreed that the security of the lives of such political office holders when they leave office should be considered, adding that the bill be committed to a committee.
Another lawmaker, Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu 2), said he supports an amendment to the law instead of repeal.
“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. But 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,” he said.
The lawmaker representing Epe Constituency 1, Tobun Abiodun, said he does not subscribe to a total repeal of the law because it would give room to corruption in office.
He said provisions should be made available to governors, deputies and possibly speakers after they leave office.
Other lawmakers who supported the amendment to the law include Jude Idimogu (Oshodi-Isolo 2), Saad Olumo (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1) and Abdulsobur Olawale (Mushin 2).
While rounding off the debate, Speaker Obasa observed the questions and suggestions raised by the lawmakers.
He also supported arguments that repealing the law in totality would expose former governors and deputies to security challenges.
Obasa committed the bill to the House Committee on Establishment with a two-week mandate for a report to be submitted.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had while presenting the 2021 budget proposal on November 10, 2020, said he would send a bill to the House that would ensure that pensions for ex-governors are scrapped so as to reduce the cost of governance.
The law, which was signed by Tinubu, states that ex-governors are entitled to an array of benefits which include a house in any location in Lagos state and a house in Abuja for a two-term governor; six brand new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor, free health care for himself and members of his family, furniture allowance, which is 300 per cent of their annual basic salary, house maintenance allowance and many other perks including eight policemen and two officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) for life.