From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara state has said that his administration has decided to use the repealed pensions for ex-governors and others for youths empowerment and the development of infrastructure in the state.
Matawalle made the declaration yesterday at Government House Gusau while assenting the repealed law upon which ex-governors and their deputies, former speakers of the state House of Assembly and their deputies were paid 702 million naira annually by the state government.
“They were supposed to collect about a billion naira annually from the state government coffers at a time pensioners are languishing in penury due to the past administration’s failure to settled their entitlements”, Matawalle lamented.
He regretted that, although the immediate past administration in the state left behind a pensions liabilities to 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 amongst others.
According to him, the filthy development had put the state in a terrible financial quagmire, adding that, “ The immediate past Governor Abdulaziz Yari is requesting the state government to pay him a whooping amount of N120 million annually including his monthly upkeep allowance of 10 million naira.
“The ex-governor who recently wrote to the state government in this regard was also under the repealed law supposed to be collecting similar amount to that of his salary while in office as Governor which will remained so throughout his life.
“In addition to these, he is supposed to be provided with two vehicles by the State Government which would be replaceable after every four years, free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and or abroad.
“Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria, a 5-bedroom flat in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the 36 states across the federation, similarly, the law has extended similar largess to the former Deputy Governors, former Speakers of the State Assembly, and former Deputy Speakers”, the Governor has cried.
Governor Matawalle further stated that, his administration will not allow the payments to continue as it will overstretch the lean resources of the state, which according to him was so, at a time when people who were supposed to be paid the meagre amount as pensions when retired as civil servants were denied and handed over their liabilities to the present administration.
“While trying to return the state on a sound footing through the stoppage of armed banditry and other security challenges, my administration has embarked on attracting local and foreign investors to the state to gainfully engage its teeming unemployed youth towards rebuilding the state to the envy of others.