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Rivers assembly may repeal pensions law for ex-governors

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
20 December 2019   |   4:36 am
Rivers State House of Assembly may repeal the contentious Governor and Deputy Governor Pensions and Fringe Benefits Act passed into in 2012.

Rivers State House of Assembly may repeal the contentious Governor and Deputy Governor Pensions and Fringe Benefits Act passed into in 2012.

Besides the huge financial rewards to former governor and their deputies, the state government was obliged to build houses for them in Rivers and in Abuja in any area of their choice.

A lawmaker told The Guardian that the law, which is generally considered outrageous and obscene would be repealed, as it was not in the best interest of the state.

He explained that Governor Nyesom Wike, who opposed the law in the first instance declined to implement the Act since he assumed office in 2015.

The lawmaker stated that the feud between Wike and his predecessor and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, under whose administration the law was enacted, may have also contributed to the non-implementation of the law.

“Wike has refused to implement the law not because of the money involved. By the law, Amaechi was also entitled to a building in Abuja and Rivers State. Governor Wike has never supported the law,” he said.

He noted that the House recently repealed the Rivers State Reserve Fund Law 2008, which made it mandatory for the state to save N1b monthly.

He also revealed that the state lawmakers hinged the decision to repeal the law on the fact that it empowered the governor to liquidate the funds just as the immediate past administration did.

However, Amaechi denied receiving any financial benefit from the state. When contacted, Chairman of Rivers State Pensions Board, Samuel Ijeoma, said he was not in a position to confirm this.

Also, the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition that opposed to the law, argued that it would be irrational to award pension to a governor who was irresponsible and spent the state’s resources frivolously.

The law also allowed the state to buy three new vehicles that would be replaced every year for the governors and 300 per cent funding for any furniture of their choice, among others.

Meanwhile, Governor said his administration has reduced cases of multiple- taxation to encourage private investors, adding that his administration has eliminated instances of harassment of businesses operating in the state.

He stated this at the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Branch of Globus Bank yesterday, saying, “We have stopped harassment of businesses and multiple- taxation in the state. As a result, several businessmen are coming into Rivers because we have created the right environment for investors to operate.”

On his part, Managing Director of Globus Bank, Elias Igbinakenzua, said the presence of the bank in Rivers State shows its economic importance in the country.

He added that as the second largest economy in the country with 21 per cent of the nation’s crude oil, the bank resolved to open its second branch in Rivers State.