Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has forwarded to the State House of Assembly for passage into law a new bill for pension and other benefits to elected former Governors and Deputy Governors in the state.
The new bill, if passed into law, would deny two former deputy governors of the state, Obong Chris Ekpenyong and Mr. Nsima Ekere, as well as the current deputy governor, Lady Valerie Ebe, from benefiting.
Akpabio, in the bill dated May 15, captioned ‘Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill 2014’ and addressed to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Samuel Ikon, wants the law to come to effect on June 1, 2014.
The bill spelt out that “an indigene of the state who has held office as democratically-elected Governor or Deputy Governor of former Cross River State and a person who has held office as a democratically-elected Governor or Deputy Governor of the state shall, when he ceases to hold the said office, be entitled to certain benefits.” Such benefits include pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent Governor or Deputy Governor.
Another benefit is provision of a new official car and a utility vehicle once in every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of government.
Also, those entitled to the pension are to be provided with funds to employ a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor; at a sum not exceeding N5million per month and N2 million per month for the deputy governor.
The bill equally made provision for free medical service for the Governor and spouse at a sum not exceeding N100 million per annum for the governor and N30 million for the deputy governor.
Akpabio is equally seeking the law to provide a befitting house not below a 5-bedroom maisonnette in either the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, or Akwa Ibom State for the Governor and a yearly accommodation allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the Deputy Governor.
There is also provision of furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary once in every four years; provision of yearly maintenance and fuelling of vehicle allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary.
“Provision of severance gratuity of 300 per cent of annual basic salary as at the time the officer leaves office; provision of yearly utility allowance of 100 per cent of annual basic salary; and provision of entertainment allowance of 100 per cent of annual basic salary”, the bill indicated.
The bill explained that a former governor or deputy governor who receives a severance gratuity under the provisions of the Public and Political Office Holders (Remuneration) Law cap. 101, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000 (as amended), shall not be eligible to obtain any other severance gratuity under the law.
Where a former governor or deputy dies, the bill stressed that government shall make adequate arrangement and bear the financial burden for his burial; and pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent to his next of kin.
“Provide one surviving spouse with medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum; provided that such a spouse was married to the Governor at the time he or she was in office, and if a wife has served the state as first lady”, it added.