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Court orders senators to refund pensions collected as ex-govs

A Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, has asked the Federal Government to recover pensions and allowances received by former and serving senators as ex-governors.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) disclosed the ‘landmark judgement’ in a tweet, on Wednesday.

The group sued the Federal Government, in 2017, over its “failure to stop former governors from receiving double pay and life pensions”.

The tweet read:

BREAKING: We’ve obtained a landmark judgment from the federal high court ordering @NigeriaGov to recover life pensions collected by Saraki, Akpabio, others & directing the AGF to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors to collect such pensions.

    — SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) December 4, 2019

It also sued the government for failing to seek the recovery of over “N40 billion unduly received by the former governors” who are now serving senators and ministers.

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Individuals named by SERAP as beneficiaries of this policy are Bukola Saraki, Godswill Akpabio Rabiu Kwankwaso, Theodore Orji, Abdullahi Adamu, Sam Egwu, Shaaba Lafiagi, Joshua Dariye, Jonah Jang, Ahmed Sani Yarima, Danjuma Goje, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Adamu Aliero, George Akume, Biodun Olujimi, Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe, Rotimi Amaechi, Kayode Fayemi, Chris Ngige and Babatunde Fashola.

The court made an order directing the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.

The court adjourned till February 3, 2020, for a report of compliance with the judgement by the federal government.

Recently, the Zamfara State House of Assembly abolished a law that allowed the payment of pension and other allowances to former governors and their deputies.

SERAP says it would not relent until the judgement is fully enforced and all state governors abolish the life pension law in their states.