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National Assembly rejects life pension for principal officers

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THE National Assembly has rejected a bill seeking to grant life pension to its principal officers.

The lawmakers rejected the bill on Tuesday during the ongoing passage of constitutional amendment bills.

According to the provisions of the bill, the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives would be entitled to receive pensions for life when they leave office.

Majority of the lawmakers voted against the bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In the House of Representatives, 162 lawmakers voted against the bill while three abstained.

The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states that “Any person who has held office as President or Vice-President shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Vice-President provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provisions of this Constitution.”.

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Reacting to the outcome of the vote, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) commended the lawmakers for development.

“Nigeria’s lawmakers have rejected the unlawful proposals to grant life pension and immunity to Senate president, speaker, and their deputies. This is a positive development for the rule of law. Public office is a public trust,” SERAP wrote.

The National Assembly also passed a bill seeking to separate the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the State from the office of the Minister of Justice, or Commissioner for Justice of the State.

According to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Attorney-General of the Federation is also the minister of justice and will be a member of the government.

The same also applies to states where a State Commissioner of Justice is also the Attorney-General of the State.

The lawmakers said the bill was aimed at making the offices of the Attorneys-General independent.

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Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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