Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state has said that the money saved from the state’s repealed pension law for former political office holders in the state will be channeled towards youth empowerment and development of infrastructures.
Matawalle who disclosed this on Wednesday when he assented to the repealed law passed by the state’s Assembly on Tuesday, said the former administration that hurriedly passed the law failed to take into consideration the social and economic realities of the state. He said the immediate past governor, Abdulaziz Yari has already paid himself the sum of N300m as severance before he left office.
“I was shocked when I received a letter from former governor Yari for the payment of the money that the failure of which I learned, the former governor threatened my administration with a court case.
“I called a meeting with my deputy as well as the speaker of the state House of Assembly and we all agreed that we do not have any interest in such retirement allowance.
“Although the immediate past administration in the state left behind pensions liabilities of local government workers, primary school teachers and state civil servants amounting to about N10 billion.
“Apart from other liabilities such as promotion benefits, workers annual increment and the rest which have put the state in a terrible financial quagmire.
“The immediate past governor Yari is requesting the state government to pay him a whopping amount of N120 million annually, made up of a monthly upkeep allowance of N10 million.
“The ex-governor who recently wrote to the state government in this regard was also under the repealed law supposed to be collecting the exact amount he was collecting as his monthly salary while as governor which should continue for him for life as his pension.
“In addition to these, he is supposed to get two vehicles to be bought by the State Government and replaceable after every four years; Free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and outside.
“Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria and a 5-bedroom house in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the country,” he said.
The governor further noted that the law also extended similar largess to the former Deputy Governors, former Speakers of the State Assembly, and former Deputy Speakers.
“If allowed thus, it will overstretch the lean resources of the state at a time when the same people who were supposed to pay the meagre amount as pensions to retired civil servants refused to do so and handed them over as liabilities to the present administration,” Matawalle said.
The governor said he will only pay allowances in accordance with the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization Committee.