The Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, has repealed the law backing payment of pension allowances and gratuities to former governors, deputy governors, speakers and deputy speakers of the state.
In a series of tweets on Friday, Uzodinma explained that he repealed the law, which he described as fraudulent, to cut the State’s financial burdens.
He said, “As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo state Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law No 5 of 2007 was a bad omen.
“At the age our Governors and Speakers are leaving office it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive & kicking in the next 15 years or more. This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 Governors and Speakers qualified for Pensions & Privileges.
“I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible. My simple calculation told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former Governors and Speakers.
Uzodinma said though he would also benefit from the law if it wasn’t revoked he had chosen to repeal it in the interest of the state.
“It is noteworthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as governor. Yet I called for its repeal. This should leave no one in doubt that I am acting in the best interest of our state and our people.
“I could not condone such a law. History and my conscience will not forgive me if I did. I had no choice therefore but to ask for its repeal as part of my government’s recovery agenda”, he said.
The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, had also earlier repealed the law backing payment of pensions to former governors in his state.
However, the law remains effective in many states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and other states in the country.
In 2019, a federal high court in Lagos ordered the federal government to recover pensions and allowances paid to former and serving ministers and senators that are ex-governors, following a legal suit by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).