Dickson Declines Assent To Life Pension For State Lawmakers
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Monday, declined assent to a bill intended to place the state lawmakers on life pension.
This may have been in response to public outcry and backlash over the bill put forward by members of the state House of Assembly.
Naija News reports the Bill recommended a monthly pension of N100,000 for members while the Speaker and Deputy Speaker will be entitled to N500,000 and N200,000, respectively.
NAN reports that the 24-member legislature dominated by 22 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members on April 24 hurriedly passed the proposed pension bill for current and past members.
However, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, quoted the governor as saying the provisions of the bill contradicts the position of the constitution on such matters, specifically citing section 124 of the constitution.
According to the commissioner, the governor held consultations with the State legislators in his country home of Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for declining assent.
“The provisions of this Bill granting pension to members of Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the extension of same to former members of the Assembly and Bayelsa indigenes who served in the Old Rivers State House of Assembly, is inconsistent with Section 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“I am not convinced about the legality of this Bill, for which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension.
“While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.
“Evidently, there is no record of any other state in this country that has expanded the categories of pensionable public officers to include lawmakers.
“I do not agree that Bayelsa which is coping with all the myriads of issues and challenges, with our low Internally Generated Revenue base and the unpredictable oil economy, should be the first to initiate this,” Dickson said.