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SERAP urges Gov Seriake Dickson to reject Bayelsa lawmakers life pension bill



In reaction to the proposed bill of  life pension to   Bayelsa lawmakers, the socio-Economic  Rights and Accountability Project ( SERAP),has sent  an open letter to  governor  Seriake Dickson, urging him to  reject the  legislation in the interest of  its citizenry.

The letter signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwada stated that theSplanned actions of the members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly violates the constitutional and international prohibitions on conflicts of interest.

Members of the State House of Assembly had  recently  passed the bill to grant monthly life pension of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) to speakers, two Hundred thousand naira (N200,000) to deputy speakers while other members will receive one hundred thousand naira (100,000).

Part of SERAP’s message to the State governor reads, ” The people of Bayelsa would expect you , as their governor to use your entrusted public office to act in public interest, including by rejecting the life pension bill and prevailing upon the House of Assembly to immediately drop the bill.

” It is estimated that hundreds of lawmakers will benefit from the life pension proposed legislation, which will invariably cost Bayelsa State at least N20 million monthly. This amount will increase in subsequent years.

“…the public funds that would be spent to pay life pensions to the lawmakers could be well used to address the problem of growing rate of  out- of -school children in the State.

” SERAP believes that the action of the lawmakers is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the object and purpose of UN conventions against corruption, to which Nigeria is a State Party and which implicitly prohibits large severance benefits for public officials such as members of Bayelsa State House of Assembly.

” the lawmakers are clearly the major beneficiaries under the proposed legislation. Therefore, by passing the life pension bill, the lawmakers of Bayelsa State House of Assembly have violated the constitutional and international prohibitions on conflict of interest.

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