By Simeon OSAJIE
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a contempt suit against the outgoing federal government of President Buhari for failing to recover over N40 billion double pay and life pensions from former governors who are serving as lawmakers and ministers.
SERAP disclosed this in a statement on Sunday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, recalling how Justice Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordered the Federal Government in November 2019 to “recover life pensions collected by former governors serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.”
Justice Oguntoyinbo also directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami to “challenge the legality of states’ life pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.”
The rights group regretted that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to implement the judgment. Justice Oguntoyinbo who retired from the bench last month, expressed “regret” during a valedictory court session held in her honour that the judgment has not been implemented.
“It’s unacceptable to take the court, which is the guardian of justice in this country, for a ride. A democratic state based on the rule of law cannot exist or function, if the government routinely ignores and/or fails to abide by court orders,” the statement read.
“Despite the service of the certified true copy of the judgment on the Attorney General of the Federation, the Buhari administration has failed and/or refused to obey it.
“While many Nigerian workers and pensioners have not been paid by state governors for several months and struggle to make ends meet, former governors continue to collect double emoluments and enjoy opulent lifestyles.”