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Rights group sues government over alleged N40b perks for serving ex-governors


Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

A Lagos-based rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has sued the Federal Government over its “failure to stop former governors, now serving as senators and ministers, from receiving double pay and life pensions as well as recover the over N40 billion of public funds unduly drawn by these public officers.”

In the suit, filed at the Federal High Court Ikoyi over the weekend in Lagos, the group said its action followed the refusal of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to use his “position as a defender of public interest to institute legal actions to stop former governors from enjoying emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their positions as senators and ministers.”
Citing Order 34, Rules 1 and 3 of the Federal High Court Rules 2009, the organisation noted: “Public function should be exercised in the public interest. Double emoluments promote private self-interest or self-dealing. By signing double perks, these former governors have abused their entrusted positions, and thereby obtained an undue advantage, contrary to Article 19 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

The suit is seeking among other reliefs, an order granting leave to the applicant to apply for a judicial relief and an order of mandamus directing and or compelling the respondent to urgently 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; and to identify those involved and seek full recovery of public funds from them.

However, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi and his counterparts in the Ministries of Labour and Employment as well as Power, Works and Housing, Chris Ngige and Babatunde Fashola, have denied drawing extra funds as former governors.

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Abubakar MalamiSERAP
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