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REPS APPROVE STIPENDS FOR EX-MILITARY LEADERS

By NBF News

The House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill amending the law to include former military rulers and their deputies in the list of past leaders to receive monthly stipends. This position, however, contradicts that of the Senate, which removed names of ex-military rulers form those to enjoy monthly remunerations from government.

While the Senate had in March this year removed the names of all former military heads of state from the beneficiaries of the remunerations, the House of Representatives amended and passed the Bill for an Act to provide remunerations for former presidents in which it allowed former military heads of state to benefit.

The Bill, which scaled the third reading on the floor of the House received overwhelmingly approval, as member argued before voting that there was nothing wrong in including former military heads of state in the list of beneficiaries of the remuneration.

Chairman, House committee on Rules and Business, Mr Ita Enang moved the motion for the re-committal and third reading of the Bill for an Act to provide remunerations of former presidents, heads of federal legislative houses and chief justices of the federation and other related matters.

'Pursuant to Order XII, Rule 10(2), Ita Enang moved that the Bill be re-committed to the committee of the whole in order to enable the Hose debate other constitutional and incidental matters pertaining to it. Enang stressed the need to include those who came to power through the barrel of guns since the constitution had conferred on them the status of member of the Council of States.

Member, representing Nnewi North/South/Ekwusigbo Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Mr Cyril Maduabum, raised a point of order asking for the inclusion of former military heads of state as beneficiaries of the remuneration. C.I.D. Maduabum, who is the chairman of House Committee on Public Petitions argued that the 1999 Constitution had already allowed them to benefit from the remuneration.

He read Section 316(2) of the constitution, which stipulates that; 'Any person, who immediately before the date when this section comes into force holds office by virtue of any other constitution or law in force immediately before the date when this section comes into force shall be deemed to be duly appointed to that office by virtue of this constitution or by any authority by whom appointments to that office fall to be made in pursuance of this constitution,' to buttress his argument.

All the retirement benefits would be worked out by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) The Bill also provided for the remuneration of former vice presidents, deputy Senate presidents, speakers and deputy Speakers of the House of Representatives.