The Enugu State House of Assembly, during its sitting on Tuesday, stepped down the proposed pension bill for former governors, their spouses and their deputies.
The controversial bill, which has generated much reaction, was stepped down via a motion initiated by the leader of the House, Mr Ikechukwu Ezeugwu. Mr Ezeugwu is also the sponsor of the bill which passed the first reading on March 11, 2021.
Mr Ezeugwu, in the motion to step down the bill, said the action became necessary due to the public outcry that trailed it.
The motion for the stepdown was seconded by Mrs Onyinye Ugwu, the deputy leader of the House. The House speaker, Edward Ubosi, said there were a lot of provisions in the bill that ‘are not constitutional, such as the payment of salaries to spouses of former governors and their deputies’.
The bill, if passed, would have made a former governor or deputy governor entitled to gratuity as well as pension for life at the expense of the state government. The bill also made provisions for medical allowances not exceeding N12m per annum for one surviving spouse, provided that such spouse was married to the governor while in office. It would have also mandated the state government to provide three vehicles for the ex-governor and replace them every four years.
According to it, “A person who had held office as elected governor or deputy governor in Enugu State or any other state should be entitled to pension for life. The entitlement to the pension should be provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment.
“When a former governor or former deputy governor dies, the state government should make adequate arrangement and bear the financial responsibility for his burial.
“The state government should pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent to his next of kin.”