By Abubakar Y Ojimaojo
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu over “the failure to stop the former governors who are now serving as ministers in his administration from collecting life pensions and other ‘retirement benefits’ from their states while they serve as ministers.”
In a statement on Sunday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, identified the ministers as Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun).
Other former governors listed in the suit include Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Simon Lalong (Plateau); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); and Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe).
SERAP said, “the ministers are to be joined in the suit as Defendants.”
Oluwadare said the suit with number FHC/L/CS/1855/2023 was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos. The rights group is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to instruct the former governors who are now serving as ministers to stop collecting life pension, and other ‘retirement benefits’ from their respective states.”
SERAP is arguing that: “Compelling and directing President Tinubu to stop the former governors from collecting any ‘retirement benefits’ while serving as ministers would serve the public interest, especially given the current grave economic realities in the country.”
“The appointment of those who collect life pensions and other ‘retirement benefits’ as ministers is an arbitrary and unlawful exercise of discretion and presidential power of appointment.
“While many pensioners are not paid their pensions, former governors serving as ministers get paid huge severance benefits upon leaving office, and are poised to enjoy double emoluments on top of the opulence of political office holders.”
“The Tinubu government has constitutional and international legal obligations to stop the former governors from collecting any ‘retirement benefits while serving as ministers.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.