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SERAP urges court to stop payment of life pensions to Abuja ex-council chairmen, speakers

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to declare the Life Pension Edict/Law 2019 passed by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) null, void, illegal and unconstitutional.

It also implored the court to restrain and stop AMAC, its chairman, deputy chairman, speaker; legislature and/or their agents from paying life pensions to former officials, and ultimately, to themselves under the edict/law.”

SERAP is also seeking “an order to direct and compel AMAC, its chairman, deputy chairman, speaker and legislature to recover all previous payments made under the AMAC life pension edict/law from those who have already collected pensions, and to return same to the coffers of the council so that the public funds can be spent to provide public goods and services for residents.”

In the suit number CV/840/2020, filed on its behalf by Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, SERAP said: “The AMAC edict granting life pensions to former officials is a blatant usurpation of the constitutional powers of the National Assembly. Unless stopped, AMAC and its officials will spend millions and ultimately, billions of tax-payers’ money on life pensions, the council’s funds that should be spent to address the poor state of basic amenities and deficits in educational institutions, primary healthcare facilities, potable water, sanitation and infrastructural needs of the residents within the council’s area.”

The suit followed the group’ s open letter dated October 11, 2019 to Mr. Abdullahi Adamu Candido, Chairman of AMAC, urging him to “urgently withdraw and revoke the edict for the unconstitutional and illegal payment of life pensions to former chairmen, vice-chairmen, speakers and other officials of AMAC.”

According to SERAP: “The court should exercise its inherent and statutory powers to defend the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), and hold that the AMAC pension edict is unconstitutional and stop any payment of pensions under the said edict. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, AMAC and its officials will continue to use the pension edict for personal gain, in breach of constitutional provisions, and at the expense of the people and residents of the council area. This is what the provisions of Section 1, Part 1, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution expressly forbids.”

SERAP is also seeking “a declaration that AMAC and its officials have no constitutional or statutory authority whatsoever to enact any pension edict/law for the benefit of former officials, and ultimately, for their own benefit.”No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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