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SERAP Takes Akpabio, Others To Court For Allegedly Collecting Salaries, Pensions

Godswill Akpabio

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has initiated legal proceedings against Senate President Godswill Akpabio and nine other former governors from the 10th Senate. This legal action is in response to their simultaneous receipt of both senatorial salaries and pensions.

Joined in the suit as Respondents are the following: Abdulaziz Yari; Aminu Tambuwal; Adamu Aliero; Adams Oshiomole; Ibrahim Gaidam; Seriake Dickson; Ibrahim Dankwambo; Aliyu Wammako; Gbenga Daniel, and Dave Umahi.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1360/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio, nine other senators and Mr Umahi to stop collecting both salaries and pensions, and to return any pensions collected to their respective state treasuries.”

The organization is also seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio, nine other senators and Mr Umahi to clarify and disclose if they have collected and/or currently collecting both salaries and pensions as former governors.

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The Seventh Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) requires the former governors to stop collecting both salaries and pensions and to return any pensions collected.”

SERAP is arguing that, “Unless the reliefs sought are granted, the former governors would continue to both enjoy life pension packages, and collect salaries as serving public officers, and the travesty and private self-interest would continue.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part: “The UN Convention against Corruption requires public officials to discharge a public duty truthfully and faithfully.

“The UN Convention also implicitly prohibits large severance benefits for public officials. The convention specifically in article 8 requires public officers to promote integrity and responsibility in the management of public resources.

“Paragraph 2 (a) of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the Nigerian Constitution provides in part: ‘a public officer shall not receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other public office.’

“According to reports, there are fourteen former governors in the Senate and as ministers who may be collecting pensions running into billions of naira from their states. The former governors include: Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom State); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo State); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi State); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi State); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto State); and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger State).

“Others are: Ibrahim Danwkambo (Gombe State); Danjuma Goje (Gombe State); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara State); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun State); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto State); Orji Kalu (Abia State); Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe State); and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa State). Also, there are at least seven former governors in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet who may be collecting both salaries and pensions.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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