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    HomeNewsBuhari, Osinbajo, governors, lawmakers, others to receive N63b severance package

    Buhari, Osinbajo, governors, lawmakers, others to receive N63b severance package

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    Abdul Lawal with agency report
     
     Nigeria may spend about N63.45 billion as severance packages for President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors and other political appointees as they leave their offices by next 29th May.
    The figure also covers the severance gratuity for ministers, commissioners, National Assembly members, state assembly members and special advisers. It, however, does not include special assistants.
    A breakdown of the package indicates that the Federal Government would pay out N3.39 billon while the states will part with N60.06 billion.
    The beneficiaries’ package was collated from a document obtained by The PUNCH from the website of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMAFAC).
    The severance allowance is, however, separate from other financial packages which may be in place as retirement benefits or pensions for some of the political office holders.
    As approved by RMAFAC, political office holders were entitled to 300 per cent of their annual salary as a severance package.
    In addition, some ex-governors will be paid 100 per cent of their annual basic salary for life after leaving office.
    They would also get new cars every three years, a house in any part of the country, free medical care, as well as furniture allowance and car maintenance allowance.
    They are also entitled to cooks, stewards, gardeners, and other domestic staff, among other perks, including policemen and Department of State Services operatives for life.
    The PUNCH recently reported that N13.81 billion was proposed for the payment of pensions to former Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Heads of State, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, as well as retired heads of government agencies and parastatals in the 2023 fiscal year.
    The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, as well as Vice-Presidents Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo.
    Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd.).
    As stipulated by RMAFAC, the President will get a severance pay of N10.54 million, which is 300 per cent of his annual basic salary, while Vice-President Osinbajo will receive N9.09 million.
    The eight special advisers in the Presidency are expected to get N5.83m each, totalling N46.64 million.

    There are 44 ministers under President Buhari, consisting of 27 federal ministers and 17 ministers of state.

    While each minister is entitled to N6.08 million, each minister of state is entitled to N5.87 million. In total, they would get N258.08 million, with ministers getting N164.16 million and ministers of states receiving N93.92 million.
    Each special adviser under the minister is entitled to a severance fee of N5.83 million. With each minister having one special adviser, the total sum of N256.52 million will be spent as their severance package.
    The National Assembly members would receive about N2.81bn, with senators getting N664.94 million, while House of Representatives members would be paid N2.15 billon.

    The President of the Senate will receive N7.45 million cheque, the deputy senate president, N6.93 million and the other 107 senators, N6.08 million each.
    The Speaker, House of Representatives is expected to receive N7.43 million, the deputy speaker, N6.86 million and the 358 members, N5.96 million each.

    Since governorship elections is holding in 28 states, 28 governors and deputy governors will get severance pay, alongside the commissioners and special advisers under them.

    Some of the governors who would receive severance allowance include Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Simon Lalong (Plateau), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Muhammad Abubakar (Jigawa), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi.)
    Others include Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Umar Ganduje (Kano), Ben Ayade (Cross-River), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa-Ibom), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi) and Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna).
    Each governor is entitled to a severance pay of N6.67 million while the deputy governor gets N6.34 million. In total, state governors get N186.76 million, while their deputies would each be paid N177.52 million.
    With each commissioner entitled to N4.01 million, a total of 570 state commissioners will get N2.29 billion.
    Special advisers at the state level are by law entitled to N3.75 million each. The 28 states had about 14,633 special advisers in total, which would cost the public treasury N54.88 billion.
    The Chairman of Ekiti State branch of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr Joel Akinola said it was not right for political office holders to receive huge severance allowance when states were not paying pensions as and when due.
    Akinola said: “It is unfair. I see that kind of a move as selfish, inconsiderate and inhuman if people who had worked meritoriously for 35 years are being owed pensions and gratuities of less than N3m for over 10 years whereas people who served in a political appointment for just four or eight years are being paid humongous amounts”.
    The NUP chairman, who observed that the beneficiaries equally enjoyed other office perks noted, “This shows they have not come to serve us but to rip us off of our benefits.’’
    He added: “When they are in power, they are heavily paid; they have access to all the benefits – free feeding, free transport, free medicare, free everything, and when they are leaving, they are going with humongous amount as severance allowance.
    “I think it is very unfair to leave the poor ones who really did the job unpaid. God does not support this kind of treatment. It is ungodly and should be condemned. I want to appeal to them that they should do the needful concerning pensioners and pay them their dues so that they can put their body and soul together”.
    An economist, Mr Bismark Riwane said the government should spend money on both lawmakers and pensioners.
    “You know the price of democracy; the government should spend more money on both the pensioners and also the lawmakers. They should pay everybody both the lawmakers and pensioners, not paying one and leaving the other”, he counselled.
    RMAFAC has however said that it would begin the process of reviewing the remuneration for political, public and judicial office holders in the country.
    According to a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Nwachukwu Christian, the commission’s Chairman, Mohammed Shehu disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State in his office in Abuja recently.
    The statement reads: “Mohammed pointed out that pursuant to the functions of RMAFC in paragraph 32(D) of part 1 to the third schedule of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, empowers the Commission to determine the remuneration appropriate to political, public and judicial office holders in the country informing that the last time the review was carried out was 2008 which makes it even overdue for review”.
    According to the statement, Tambuwal showed support for the review, adding that the salaries of judges in the country particularly are one of the least in public service.

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