Malami: how Fed Govt will comply with verdict on ex-governors’ pension



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Malami: how Fed Govt will comply with verdict on ex-governors’ pension

 Eric Ikhilae, Abuja



 

MINISTER of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami said on Thursday that public interest will guide Federal Government’s compliance with the court’s decision ordering it to recover funds paid to some ex-governors while serving as senators or ministers.



According to a statement, Malami said: “We will work and be guided by the legalities of the case, the dictates of justice and public interest in complying with the judgment.”

The statement was signed by the minister’s spokesman Umar Gwandu,

A Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the Federal Government to “recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

The judgment by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, also directed the AGF to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws, “permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.”

He ordered the AGF to return to court in February 2020 with evidence of compliance with the ruling.

The judgment was an application for an order of mandamus by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

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Justice Oguntoyinbo said: “The Attorney General has argued that the States’ laws duly passed cannot be challenged. With respect, I do not agree with this line of argument by the Attorney General that he cannot challenge the States’ pension laws for former governors.

“The question that comes to mind is: who should approach the Court where a particular law is not in the best interest of Nigeria as a country or National interest? Who should approach the Court where a particular law is detrimental to the interest of the country? Who should institute actions in court for the purpose of recovering public funds collected?

In answering the questions, Justice Oguntoyinbo said: “In my humble view, the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Amaechi spoke against being paid pension and at the same time receiving salary as a minister or a lawmaker.

Quoting a tweet on ex-governors (who had served or are serving as ministers, senators) who a court in Lagos asked the Federal Government to recover pension from, Amaechi said that even if offered pension, he would have declined.

He tweeted: “I have never requested for or collected one kobo as pension from Rivers State Govt. If offered, I will politely decline and request that the money should be given to Rivers State pensioners. I do not believe that I should receive pension as ex-gov of River State while serving as a minister.”

Malami: how Fed Govt will comply with verdict on ex-governors’ pension

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