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Sanwo-Olu moves to stop Tinubu, other ex-govs, deputies’ pensions

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Former governors and deputies including Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, may no longer enjoy pensions if plans to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007) sail through.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gave the hint on Tuesday when he announced his intention to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former elected governors and their deputies.

The governor made this known on Tuesday while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

He said the bill for that purpose would be sent to the state assembly.

“Mr. Speaker and Honourable members of the house, in the light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former governors and their deputies,” Sanwo-Olu said.

According to the Lagos Pension Law approved by former Governor Bola Tinubu in 2007, a former governor will enjoy the following benefits for life: Two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja; even as property experts estimate such a house in Lagos to cost about N500 million and that in Abuja to cost about N700 million.

Other entitlements include: Six brand new cars, replaceable every three years; furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual salary to be paid every two years; and a pension of N2.5 million monthly amounting to about N30 million pension annually.

The former governor will also enjoy security details, free medicals including for his immediate families.

Other benefits are house maintenance worth 10 per cent of his annual pension; 30 per cent car maintenance; 10 per cent entertainment; 20 per cent utility, and several domestic staff.

Should the new arrangement succeed in Lagos, it would only be following a similar step taken by the Kwara State in 2018 when the state House of Assembly passed an amendment bill halting payment of pensions to former governors, deputy governors, and other political office holders after their tenure.

Former governors and their deputies from almost in all the 36 states of the federation enjoy similar jumbo pay.

A recent report by Blueprint newspaper catalogues a number of states where such largesse in the name of pensions for political office holders after leaving office is ‘legitimised’.

For instance, the report states in Rivers State, the law provides 100 per cent of annual basic salary for ex-governor and deputy; one residential house for former governor to be located anywhere of his choice in Nigeria; one residential house anywhere in Rivers state for the deputy; three cars for the ex-governor every four years; and two cars for the deputy every four years.

Furniture allowance for the governor is 300 per cent of annual basic salary every four years en bloc; as well as 10 per cent as house maintenance allowance.

In Akwa Ibom, the law provides for N200 million annual pension to ex governors and deputies. They enjoy a pension, for life, equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor and deputy governor respectively.

Similarly, they are entitled to new official car and utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide and provision of adequate security; a cook; chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5 million per month and N2.5 million for the deputy governor.

There is also free medical service for governor and his spouse at an amount not exceeding N100 million for the governor per annum and N50 million for the deputy governor.

Also, there is a five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom and allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor.

The ex-governor also takes a furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary every four years in addition to severance gratuity.

The Kano State Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 provides for 100 per cent of annual basic salaries for former governors and their deputies, with a furnished office as well as a six-bedroom house, ‘well-furnished’ four-bedroom for deputy, plus an office.

The former governor is also entitled to free medical service along with his immediate families within and outside Nigeria where necessary. It is same for deputy.

Two drivers are also part of the former governor’s entitlement and a driver for his deputy; and personal staff below the rank of a Principal Administrative Officer and a PA not below grade level 10. There is a provision for a 30-day vacation within and outside Nigeria.

In Gombe, there is N300 million executive pension benefits for the ex-governor.

The Zamfara version of the law, signed in 2006, gives former governors pension for life; two personal staff; two vehicles replaceable every four years; two drivers; free medicals for the former governors and deputies as well as their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad.

The law also gives the former governors a four-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office, free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

In Sokoto, former governors and deputy governors are to receive N200 million and N180 million respectively, being monetisation for other entitlements which include domestic aides; residence and vehicles; that could be renewed after every four years.

Section 2 (2) of the Sokoto State Grant of Pension, Governor and Deputy Governor, Law, 2013, states that “the total annual pension to be paid to the governor and deputy governor, shall be at a rate equivalent to the annual total salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor of the state respectively.”

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Just in: Nigerian railway postpones resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train indefinitely

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has postponed indefinitely the resumption of its suspended Abuja-Kaduna train service, following public outcry against the initial decision to return to operation next Monday May 23.
The service was suspended after terrorists on March 28 attacked a passenger train on that route, near Kaduna, killing eight people and abducting over 60 passengers, most of who are still in captivity.
The NRC had earlier in the week said the Federal Government had approved that train service should resume next Monday while efforts are being intensified to secure the release of those still held captive.

But relatives of the abducted by train passengers kicked against this, vowing to obstruct any train operation on the route without the release of their loved ones. Some option leaders also called on the government to rescind its decision to resume the train service.

A statement by the NRC Deputy Director Public Relations, Mahmoud Yakubu, on Friday evening announced a shift in the resumption date of the Abuja-Kaduna train and apologised for this.

It also said, “A new date will be announced soonest. The NRC will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Federal Government in its uncompromising mandate of protecting the territorial integrity and the internal security of Nigeria for safeguarding the lives and properties of its citizens especially as it concerns the rail subsector.”

The corporation identified with relatives of those in captivity after the last train attack, adding that actions were being taken to secure their safe release.

It stated, “The Federal Government is alive to its

responsibility for the safe rescue of all persons being held hostage. We therefore appeal, particularly to the relatives of persons held hostage to be patient and cooperate with the corporation and the security agencies.”

 

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Lagos airport shut temporarily, flights diverted over mangled corpse on runway

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Muritala Muhammed Airports

The international wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was temporarily shut in the early hours of Thursday after the mangled body of a dead man was found on Runway 18R of the nation’s flagship airport.

The identity of the corpse could not be ascertained as of press time. Also, it could not be established whether the dead man was knocked down by an aircraft taking off or landing on the runway.

However, airport officials told our correspondent that the runway was temporarily shut down while a team of officials from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force evacuated the corpse from the runway.

During the temporary shutdown of the runway, international flights were prevented from landing and taking off from the airport’s international terminal.

Among the flights that could not land due to the shutdown was an Ethiopian Airlines flight 3907, a Boeing 77F aircraft with registration number ETAVN, which was coming from Lome, Togo to Lagos, Nigeria.

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The flight was later diverted back to Lome after holding for a while.

Airport officials said the corpse was suddenly found on Runway 18R during a routine runway inspection by FAAN personnel.

The spokesperson for FAAN, Mrs. Faithful Avokerie Hope-Ivbaz, could not immediately confirm the incident, saying she had yet to be briefed on the development.

Also, the Police Public Relations Officer, Airport Command, Mr Olayinka Ojelade, said he had yet to get the requited signal on the incident.

He promised to get back. As of the time of filing this report, he had yet to do so. However, a top police official at the MMIA confirmed the development.

He said the command was called upon in the early hours of Thursday to evacuate the corpse from Runway 18R.

According to him, the police are still investigating the identity of the dead man and how he got to the security area of the international airport.

However, an aviation security expert and former Military Commandant of the MMIA, Group Captain John Ojikutu,retd, said there was a need to investigate how the unidentified man found his way into the sensitive area of the airport, describing the incident as a major security breach.

According to him, the perimeter fence of the MMIA is not a security fence, adding that this has exposed the airport to various security breaches.

Ojikutu said, “The authorities need to investigate how the man got to the airport. Nobody can say much now; but he may have been knocked down by the wingspan or undercarriage of a jumbo jet but it is too early to say anything like that now.  But we need to examine the issue of houses that have been built too close to the Lagos airport. The rule says no building should be situated less than six metres to the airport structure or fence. However, we have seen cases of people crossing the runway before.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and FAAN need to investigate this to ascertain what really happened. They need to find out the flights that landed before that incident. The current airport perimeter fence is not a security fence and we need to do something about it.”

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of airport security breaches in recent times.

A mishap was averted at the airside of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos some months ago when a speeding vehicle had a near collision with a Dana Air plane taxiing to take off on Runway 18L of the airport.

The unfortunate incident, which happened on December 21, 2021, occurred barely one week after a landing Max Air jet almost rammed into a malfunctioning car being tested on  Runway 18L.

Also, there was pandemonium at the airside of the Lagos airport on December 27, 2019 when an unidentified man found his way into the airside mysteriously and mounted a moving Air Peace plane.

The man was later arrested by security operatives who were notified by the pilot of a private jet coming behind the Air Peace plane.

The incident happened barely six months after a man found his way into the Lagos airport and climbed a Port Harcourt-bound Azman Airlines plane.

The man, believed to be mentally ill, was later identified as Usman Adamu from the Republic of Niger.

The Police said the Nigerien could not speak or understand English Language.

The authorities said then that investigation was still ongoing to ascertain how Adamu gained access to the restricted area at the airport.

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AutoTrends: Customs to reintroduce suspended e-valuation of vehicles Friday

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it will reintroduce the suspended electronic valuation of vehicles on Friday.

The NCS said this in a letter dated May 17, 2022, and signed by Ajibola Odusany, NCS’ deputy controller, administration, on behalf of Yusuf Malanta, area controller in charge of the Apapa Command of the service.

Also known as vehicle inspection number (VIN), the policy has generated controversy since its introduction this year.

Clearing agents associations had protested against the e-valuation policy and grounded activities at the ports.

The freight forwarders said the e-valuation system sharply increased duty paid on imported vehicles.

This had forced the NCS to suspend the implementation of the VIN policy, following the intervention of the House of Representatives.

In bringing back the policy, the NCS said there would be a sensitisation programme for stakeholders in the clearance chain in preparation for the redeployment.

“In line with the planned nationwide deployment of the VIN Valuation on Friday, 20 May 2022, and the need to continually enhance the platform for optimal performance and service delivery, the sensitisation which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 11:00 am is to hold at the Apapa Command conference hall. The Deputy Controller Administration, A Y. Odusanya, on behalf of the Customs Area Controller requested that clearing agents should send their representatives to attend, saying the session would benefit everyone and further clarify any question,” the letter stated.

Acting President of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, confirmed the development,

saying the association would speak after the training.

“We’re going for the training. So, we can’t say anything until we’re through with the training,” he said.

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