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Akpabio, Tinubu, Ndume, reject calls for pension for NASS principal officers

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Minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, Senators Oluremi Tinubu and Senate leader, Ali Ndume, have described as outragoeus, the call by some of their colleagues that principal officers be entitled to life pensions after service.

They also described as ludicrous suggestions that since the Chief Justice of the Federation gets it, lawmakers should as well.

The issue came up at a-two day retreat on Constitution Review organised by the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review in Lagos on Saturday.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Senators Stella Oduah and Ahmed Yerima had spearheaded the curios proposal

According to Ndume “The case of the state governors and their deputies is different. They were elected by the public.

“But we elect our principal officers. To me, I believe that the benefit of the office of the senate president and other principal officers is too much. They are just one among equals.

“I am against any excessive privileges given to the senate president or the speaker. All of us were elected. If we are doing anything, it should be for all members of the National Assembly,” he said.

Akpabio said “The governor of a state and the president cannot stay in office for more than two terms. But for a senator, he can stay in office for 35 years,”

On her part, Tinubu said ” I think principal officers have had enough.

“Principal Officers drive fleet of cars and they have other entitlements. They should not earn extra money when they leave office.

“In the last assembly, we in the minority tried to raise our voice against it. You are first, second and third among equals.

“Some of us do not even have cars, but principal officers have so many. I think we should drop that idea,” Mrs. Tinubu said.

“This has nothing to do with an individual. It is about the institution. Let us not politicise it. Nobody elected the Chief Justice of Nigeria, but he enjoys pension.

“But if we cheapen our own institution, so be it. Let us not make this a personal thing,” he said.

Oduah (PDP-Anambra) said there was no reason why legislators should not enjoy such benefit when other arms of government enjoyed it.

“The executive enjoy it. Let us stand by our leaders. They should enjoy this benefit. They act on behalf of us.

“They are equal to the executive and judiciary and should therefore, enjoy the same benefit,'' she said.

Yerima (APC-Zamfara), who also spoke in favour of the suggestion, said after being elected by all the lawmakers and their constituencies, lawmakers should enjoy pension.

“Governors, who spend just four years enjoy it, so presiding officers should enjoy it too,” Mr. Yerima said.

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