The joint committee of the National Assembly on the review of the 1999 constitution yesterday rejected a proposed amendment seeking to guarantee life pension for presiding officers of the federal legislature and state houses of assembly
Participants at the ongoing joint working retreat of the committee in Lagos, while deliberating on the controversial Bill, noted that some of the presiding officers end up as state governors and as such may enjoy double pension.
This rejected alteration seeks to guarantee the president of the Senate, deputy president of the Senate, Speaker and deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to life pension benefits as is the case with other arms of government if they are not impeached.
However, majority of the participants, including Speakers of state houses of assembly and selected lawmakers from the states argued that the bill is self-serving and should not be allowed.
Chairman of retreat and deputy Senate president, Ike Ekwerenmadu, eventually put the debate into a vote, after which he announced that 30 participants voted in support, while 45 participants voted against.
“This is the beauty of democracy. 30 people voted in support while 45 voted against. The bill stands rejected”, Ekweremadu declared.
The bill which sought to alter section 84 of the constitution will guarantee life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly who were not impeached.
Meanwhile, the joint committee has approved a Bill for an Act seeking to guarantee autonomy for state houses of assembly in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 constitution.
Although former Akwa-Ibom state Governor, and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday kicked against the proposed law, majority of the participants overrode his position as they voted in support of the bill.
Akpabio noted that the financial system of state government varies from state to state, and as such, the current system should alter.
“Since you don’t want to hear the truth, go ahead and do whatever you want. But remember that some of you will become governors and some day, you will come to the National Assembly,” he said.