by Stanley Azuakola
When pension problems are discussed in Nigeria, the predominant account is of the poor, suffering pensioner standing under the sun or in the rain, waiting to be paid. It’s not everyday one hears that a former deputy governor is also being owed her due.
But that is exactly the case in Lagos, where former deputy governor, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, has sued Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), over payment of her pension, allowances and fringe benefits.
Her counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), filed the suit on her behalf at a Lagos High Court. Her prayer is for the court to compel Fashola to pay her pension and other benefits as provided for under the public office holder (payment of pension) Law No 11 official gazette of Lagos
Also joined in the suit are the Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye and the Ministry of Establishments,
Training and Pensions, Lagos State.
In 2007, during the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration as governor, the state Assembly enacted a law stating that:
“Any person who held office as an elected Governor or Deputy Governor (referred to in this Law as Public office Holder) shall be entitled to the payment of pension at the rate equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent Governor or Deputy Governor and other benefits as provided by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission;
“Any person duly elected as Public Office Holder shall upon the successful completion of his term be entitled to a grant of pension for life by the state; provided that such a person shall
not be entitled to a grant of pension under this law if he was removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provision of the constitution;
“The sum payable as pension under the provisions of this law shall be charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state;
“The total emolument of the Public Office Holder shall include salary, allowances and fringe benefits as contained in the schedule to this Law;
“Subject to the provisions of section 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the pension mentioned in this Law shall be payable at the expiration of the tenure of the holder of the office;
“Where the Public Office Holder vacates office before the expiration of the term of his office for reasons other than impeachment or breach of any provision of the constitution, he shall be paid pension on a pro-rata basis for the number of
years he held such office;
“Where the Public Office Holder dies in office before the expiration of his tenure, his family or beneficiaries shall be paid death benefit on a pro-rata basis.”
Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu was deputy governor during the administration of Governor Michael Otedola.