The Kano State House of Assembly yesterday passed a life pension bill for its speaker and deputy speaker after the proposal scaled the third reading, even though it must be ratified by the head of its executive arm before it becomes law
The Pension Rights of Speaker and Deputy Bill 2019 gives the presiding officers the privilege to earn life benefits following the expiration of their tenure. In addition, the duo would enjoy medical trips once in 12 months and choice vehicles every four years.
The package however comes with a clause: the prospect of the luscious fruit vanishes immediately the principal officer is impeached.
The bill states: “There shall be paid a pension to person(s) who held office as speaker and deputy speaker equal to the emoluments of a serving speaker and deputy speaker, provided that either the speaker or the deputy do not hold any paid elective or selective appointments.
“Any person duly elected as a speaker or deputy speaker shall, on completion of his term, be entitled to a grant of pension for life by the state provided that such person was not removed from office through impeachment by members of the House of Assembly.
“Where the speaker or deputy vacates office before the expiration of the term of his office, not as a result of impeachment, he shall be paid pension pro-rata the number of years he spent in relation to his tenure of office.”
The bill reads further: “Where the speaker or deputy speaker dies in office before the expiration of the term of his tenure, he shall be paid pension pro-rata the number of years he spent in relation to his tenure of office.
“There shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker a brand new vehicle to be bought by the state government every four years. There shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker medical expenses either home or abroad depending on the nature of the illness.”
In 2018, the Assembly rejected a similar bill seeking life pensions for governor and deputy governor. Former Speaker and member representing Fagge Constituency, Abdullahi Atta, had led the argument that the idea was economically unsustainable.
Should Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje decline assent, he would be toeing the line of his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, who recently turned down a bill seeking life pension for the state’s serving and former lawmakers.
The proposal had drawn widespread condemnation from members of the public who accused the legislators of abuse of power.