*As SERAP wants anti- corruption agencies probe cases
The Federal Government has asked Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, for the full list of former governors and ministers that have received or receiving double pay and life pensions in order to ensure full compliance with the judgment of the court.”
Recall that Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo in suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017, delivered a landmark judgment in December 2019, ordering the Federal Government to “recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.”
The court, sitting in Abuja, also directed the government to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.
SERAP had earlier sent a letter to Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, asking him to “advise and persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to fully enforce the judgment.”
AG’s reply, dated February 24th, 2020, but which SERAP, claimed it received March 2, 2020, stated: “Kindly refer to your letter dated December 6th, 2019. I am writing to inform your esteemed organization to furnish me with the full list of the former governors and ministers which are affected by the judgment by Justice Oguntoyinbo, in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the ruling of the Honourable Court. Please, treat with utmost urgency.”
Malami’s letter with reference number MJ/LIT/ABJ/CMC/661/793, was signed on his behalf by Mrs Anne C. Akwiwu, Director Civil Litigation and Public Law Department.
Responding, SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “We welcome your request for the full list of former governors and ministers. Any further delay in the enforcement of the judgment will continue to undermine the authority and integrity of the Nigerian judiciary.
“Nigerians cannot wait for you to take legal action to scrap states’ pension laws and fully recover the public funds collected.”
SERAP also said: “Immediate obedience to the judgment will be a victory for the rule, and provide an impetus for the government’s anti-corruption fight.
“It will also be a rare piece of good news for the people of Nigeria, as it will send a powerful message to former governors and ministers that have collected and/or collecting double pay that they will be held to account for their actions, and mark the end of this state-level impunity.”