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Political analyst says life pension for legislators unconstitutional



A political analyst and constitutional lawyer,  Mr Wale Ogunade, says severance package and life pensions for State House of Assembly members, including Speakers are illegal.

Ogunade told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos, that such pension matters for political office holders would require constitutional amendment as it was contained in the exclusive legislative list.

NAN reports that some states had begun the process towards enacting a law providing monthly life pensions for legislators, while Kano and Bayelsa Houses of Assembly had passed a Bill in that regard awaiting the governor’s assent.

The bill, however, was rejected by Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, as it received widespread backlash from the public.

Ogunade said: “The severance package and pensions for the President, Vice-President, Governors and their Deputies are constitutionally in order.

“But pensions for the House of Assembly members, including Speakers are illegal and not constitutionally in order.

“This issue of pension for political office holders is in the exclusive legislative list, it is a constitutional provision and even if anything will be altered, it will require the concurrence or agreement of two-third majority in the state Assemblies in the country, including the National Assembly (NASS) itself.

“Which means that Kano, Bayelsa and other state Assemblies that are proposing such life pensions for themselves must first of all,  get the concurrence of other state assemblies of the federation, including NASS to do such.

“They cannot on their own think that they can include their severance packages in the constitution.”

Ogunade said that pension matters for political office holders was not within the purview of state Assembly legislation.

“I think the proposal will not even fly because it is absolutely not a matter for the state Houses of Assembly to decide, it is exclusively for the National Assembly to decide,” he said.

(Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)

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