Delta House passes governors pension bill

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DELTA State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the Pension Rights and Other Benefits Amendment Bill for former governors and deputy governors.

The bill, which also grants pension rights to former Acting Governor Sam Obi, had earlier been criticised by Deltans, who described it as exploitative and unpopular.

It was passed at plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori, after scaling the third reading.

The passage followed a motion by House Majority leader Tim Owhefere, seconded by Deputy Majority Whip Fred Martins.

The House, at the Committee of Whole, chaired by Oborevwori, scrutinised the report by the Joint Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judicial Matters and the Special Committee on Bills.

Some amendments were proposed and adopted, with Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judicial Matters Charles Oniyere, and the Committee on Special Bills Tim Owhefere, leading the process.

The Speaker hailed members for the attention given to the bill.

He said the third reading and passage of the three clause-bill was another milestone in the desire of the House to make laws for progress and good governance.

The House of Assembly said the Pension Rights and Other Benefits Law for former governors, deputy governors and acting governor was a constitutional provision.

Owhefere, who also chairs the Committee on Information, told reporters that until the constitution was amended every Assembly had powers to make such law.

Owhefere noted that despite alleged abuse of the law by some legislatures in collaboration with governors, Delta Assembly remained focused on the right thing.

He said some states approved millions for former governors, but the monthly take home pay for the former governor in Delta was about N450,000, and acting governor N350,000.

The Majority leader said the bill was amended to accommodate the former acting governor, explaining that his monthly take-home pay would be a little above a retired permanent secretary’s, who also got salary for life.

He explained that the amended law did not provide for gratuity for the ex-acting governor as he had collected severance pay as ex-Speaker of the legislature.