The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, and the President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Bala Kaigama, in separate interviews with newmen, called for a review of the severance packages in the interest of the country and in view of the recession it has entered.
The unionists’ comments came few days after the Edo State House of Assembly amended the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law to include the provision of a building valued at not more than N200m for a former governor and another worth N100m for his deputy.
Besides Edo, other states that have passed laws on life pension for the former governors include Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Kwara.
Condemning such laws, Kaigama said that it was unfair for such severance packages and huge life benefits to be given to the former Presidents and governors, who according to him, made so much money while in office.
He said that it was unfair for somebody who served for eight years to be given life pension and other fat benefits when those who served the country for 35 years were given peanuts in retirement.
He said, “We condemn it in strong terms and we urge them to reverse such laws. We have never seen a country where somebody will just serve for eight years and get humongous pay package at the end of his or her tenure. Then somebody who has served for 35 years is given peanuts at the end of service.
“We think it is unfair and we strongly condemn these laws that are meant for the enrichment of the ruling class in this country.”
Also, the General Secretary of the NLC, Ozo-Eson, said that the severance packages being legislated to be given to political office holders in the country should be revisited as they do not portray the current reality and seriousness in an era of economic recession.
He said that as more politicians joined the group of ex-Presidents and governors, the packages approved for them in retirement would task the meager resources of the country and the states.
The 1999 Constitution provides that any person that has held office as President or Vice-President of the country is entitled to pension equivalent to salaries of the incumbent occupants of the offices at each point in time.
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “They loot in office and loot on in retirement. It smacks of uncaring, unfeeling and very cold elite. They have conquered the land and are doing all things for their own greed and avarice. It would continue until the people are ready to say ‘enough.’”