The South Saharan Social Development Organization (SSDO), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has lauded Enugu State House of Assembly for promptly stepping down the proposed bill on life pension for ex-governors, deputies and their spouses.
The Executive Director of SSDO, Dr Stanley Ilechukwu, gave the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Friday.
NAN recalls that the bill had scaled through the first reading at the state House of Assembly before it was stepped down on Tuesday, March 16, after wild public outcry concerning the bill.
“We thank the state House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, for meeting with the peaceful protesters, who came to the House to demand the termination of the Gubernatorial Life Pensions Bill.
“The concerns of the public were duly addressed, and the process for deliberations on the Bill was explained to the youths as part of an ongoing process which would still factor in their opinions.
“We are especially happy that the Bill has been stepped down pending further adjustments, and appreciate the Speaker’s assurances that the state House of Assembly would not pass laws that would be detrimental to the public well-being,’’ he said.
Ilechukwu also appreciated the willingness of the House to listen and collaborate with citizens on their legislative process.
He appealed that the Water Sector Bill pending at the House should be given a special attention by the legislators for passage as soon as possible.
“The Water Sector Bill is key in providing long-term solutions to water issues in the state.
“Though the bill has passed first reading on the floor of the House, it is worrisome that seemingly no further action has been taken despite the state governor declaring a state of emergency in the water sector in 2020.
“Therefore, we implore the Honourable members to treat the Water Sector Bill as a matter of first priority, for possible passage into law within three months.
“The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated, and it would afford us all the opportunity to congratulate and appreciate our legislators for their tireless service to Enugu State,’’ he said.
The executive director said that NGO look forward to inclusive dialogues and collaboration on this and other good governance issues.
NAN recalls that the stepped down bill recommends annual basic salary and 300 per cent of their current annual basic salary as housing allowance for the former executives.
It also provides N12 million per annum as “medical allowance” for surviving spouse of a governor.
Other costs built into the bill included the provision of three cars to be replaced every four years for the ex-governors and deputies, in addition to security.
The bill also provides for free medical services for them and their spouses, in spite of the provision for medical allowance. (NAN)