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Published November 5th, 2010

I am always wondering why most Nigerians don’t think about the credibility of our Federal legislatures and the plans of our former military leaders that are in position of authority in this country. My observation has shown to me that most of them are working towards enriching their families at expense of Nigerians.

The Senate, on Wednesday, approved life allowances for all former presidents, military leaders, Senate presidents and their deputies, Speakers of House of Representatives and their deputies, as well as former chief justices.

Also to benefit from the life allowances are the wives and children of late and living former presidents and vice-presidents. The allowances will be incorporated in the annual budget of the Federal Government, which will make provision for their remuneration.

This was sequel to the passage of a Bill for Act to provide remuneration for former presidents, heads of federal legislative houses and chief justices of the federation (and other Ancillary Matters) 2010.

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Consequently, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar, would be beneficiaries, all being ex-military heads of state that were never elected by Nigerians. These set of beneficiaries forcefully acquired power and ruled people like animals; yet they will collect allowances for life and their children and wives will collect salaries for life too.

As we know, it is not out of place for children and the wives of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, first Governor-General and Alhaji Shehu Sagari’s family to benefit from the life-long gain, but it look somehow and portrays our nation’s legislative arm as a useless one for endorsing the payment of the families of some former military dictators that did nothing but woe to our economy.

Actions of most of the former military leaders led to the current state of this country. They gave birth to corruption, militancy, hostage takings etc yet, they will still collect allowances for turning our nation upside down.

Also included are former Senate presidents, Anyim Pius Anyim, Adolphus Wabara, Ken Nnamani, current president, David Mark and their deputies. Past and present heads of the House of Representatives and their deputies are also part of the benefitting public office holders.

However, people like Chuba Okadigbo and Patricia Olubunmi Ette are automatically benefactors of the process. It would be recollects that Chuba Okadigbo spent millions of Naira to celebrate xmas and salah when he was the Senate President. Patricia Ette on her own case was impeached based on corrupt practises yet she is part of the beneficiaries of the new Bill. If this is how Democracy is being run in the western world -they would not be where they are today.

In the former amendment to Section 84 (5) of the Bill by the Senate, payment of remunerations and allowances were restricted to only elected former presidents and the vice-presidents.
According to the Senate, all the beneficiaries are to be “paid up-keep allowances from time to time by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and shall be approved by the National Assembly. “They are also entitled to the perquisites of office as recommended from time to time by RMAFC and approved by National Assembly.”

The bill stipulated that members of the families of the deceased former presidents and their deputy presidents shall be entitled to annual payments as shall be recommended by RMAFC and approved by the National Assembly and in a manner prescribed by the National Assembly.
It added that “the allowances specified shall be applied for the upkeep of the spouses and education of the children of the deceased former presidents and deceased former vice-presidents up to the university graduate level or its equivalent.”

Late dictator, Gen. Sanni Abacha that denied so many Nigerian children quality education and basic amenities through his reckless and wicked style of governance will also benefit from the new bill; the wife and children of the late General will collect allowances while the widows and children of people killed by sanni Abacha were left in agony.

Public Affairs Analyst.

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