THE Enugu state house of assembly, has written to the public in clarification of the bill to award life pension to the state’s ex-governors as well as their deputies.
The media has been in turmoil following the emergence of that bill on Thursday, 11th of March 2021. While most persons are in support of the enactment of the bill, others kick hardly against it.
In a press release signed by the leader of the House, Rt Hon. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, they cited the portion of the constitution which enables them the powers to grant pensions and gratuity to ex-governors and their deputies.
Stating that there are several protocols to be observed before the approval of the bill, the house reiterated that they are only discharging their duties meticulously.
They however, urged concerned persons to be of calm demeanor as their concerns are dutifully noticed.
We also reported that SERAP had urged the Enugu state governor to drop the bill, stating that the funds can be channeled to the development of other sectors of the state.
The press statement thus reads:
THE ENUGU STATE GUBERNATORIAL PENSIONS (AMENDMENT) BILL AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA OUTCRY
The attention of the Enugu State House of Assembly has been drawn to the news making round in the social media regarding the Gubernatorial Pensions Bill pending before the House.
Section 124(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended empowers the State Houses of Assembly to make laws for the grant of pension or gratuity to or in respect of a person who had held office as Governor or Deputy Governor.
The said Section 124(5) provides as follows:
‘Provisions may be made by a Law of a House of Assembly for the grant of a pension or gratuity to or in respect of a person who had held office as Governor or Deputy Governor and was not removed from office as a result of impeachment; and any provision made in pursuance of this subsection shall be a charge upon the consolidated Revenue Fund of the State’.
From the above provisions of the Constitution, the Enugu State House of Assembly is basically carrying out its constitutional responsibility in accordance with the express provisions of the Constitution. The Enugu State Gubernatorial Pensions Law 2007 is an existing law. The House has not acted outside the purview of its constitutional mandate by introducing a Bill to amend an existing Law.
For the purposes of clarity and information for those who may not know, the Enugu State Gubernatorial Pensions Law was first enacted in 2007 and subsequently amended in 2017.
Furthermore, there are laid down rules and procedures to be followed before a Bill is passed into law. The first stage is to introduce the Bill to the House, i.e First Reading (that was what the House just did in the instant case), the second stage is the Second Reading when the Honourable Members of the House will discuss the general principles; make their contributions for or against the Bill. Thereafter, the public would be invited for Public Hearing to enable them air their views as to the desirability or otherwise of the Bill to be passed into law. The outcomes of the Public Hearing will then guide and inform the decision of the House regarding the Bill.
The Bill was introduced on Thursday 11th March, 2021 (NOT TUESDAY 11TH MARCH, 2021) as being circulated in the social media. This tells a lot about other misinformation concerning the pending Bill being deliberately circulated to portray the Enugu State House of Assembly in bad light before the public. It is also amazing that such pending Bill is being treated as though it has already been passed into law.
Enugu State House of Assembly remains committed to the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour. The House is also sensitive to the feelings of our people and therefore appreciates the feedback and reactions from our constituents and the public. This is the beauty of democracy and as the peoples’ representatives, we will not disappoint our people.
Enugu State House of Assembly therefore assures our people that the House will follow due procedure and do the needful during the next plenary.
Accept as always the warm regards of the Honourable House.