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Nsukka Journalists Call for The Repeal of Enugu Gubernatorial Pension Law

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Nsukka Journalists Foundation (NJF), a body of journalists and media practitioners from the Nsukka geocultural zone, has called on the Enugu State Government and the State House of Assembly to urgently repeal the 2007 Gubernatorial and Pensions Law in the state, which approved the payment of pensions and gratuities to former governors and deputy governors of the state.

In a communique issued at the end of its meeting on Wednesday, march 17, 2021, the Foundation also frowned at the recent attempt by the legislative arm of the state government to increase these payments, saying it was embarrassing, especially given that some courts o competent jurisdiction had declared such payments null and void.

The communique, which was signed by Chairman of the Foundation, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the Secretary, Brendan Eze and seven others, for and on behalf of the Foundation, also gave the State House of Assembly, a 90-day ultimatum to repeal the controversial law, failing which it would resort to court action.
Lamenting the bad economic conditions of the state, the Foundation wondered about the propriety of the law when it has been unable to meet all its obligations to its civil servants and pensioners, would consider, and appear to support, this rather unfortunate Bill.

“We are dismayed and wish to express our disappointment in the leadership and membership of the State House of Assembly, as well as known and unknown supporters, sponsors and defenders of this Bill, for not deeming it fit, considering the difficulties faced by civil servants and pensioners in Enugu State, to REPEAL the 2007 Law,” the communique stated.

Continuing, the communique said: “We wish to, therefore, urge the Enugu State House of Assembly to quickly repeal the obnoxious law [Enugu State Gubernatorial Pensions Law 2007, as amended in 2017]. If this is not done within the next 90 days, the Nsukka Journalists Foundation, whose motto is

“Conscience of the People”, shall not hesitate to approach a court of competent jurisdiction, as well as the court of moral conscience and public opinion, to decide on the matter.”
The Foundation called on the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to be conscious of the state of the state’s finances, infrastructure gaps and deficits, and lack of basic amenities like water and electricity and thus prevail on the House of Assembly to do what is right, so as to earn the legitimacy of the people.

“We are painfully aware of the need to provide water, better health facilities and services, job opportunities for teeming youths, better educational facilities, better teaching tools and personnel, among so many urgent needs of the state and her people. We believe that scarce resources ought to be better deployed towards improving these physical, material and social infrastructures. We are also aware that, were this Bill ever passed, the medical allowances so provided would only encourage medical tourism, and a movement of scarce funds of Enugu State to other places such as Lagos, Abuja and Dubai, considering the poverty of current health facilities and services,” it further stated.

It would be recalled that the introduction of a Bill for the amendment of the 2007 Gubernatorial Pensions and Gratuities Law of the state drew widespread condemnation, last week, leading to a peaceful protest at the state House of Assembly Complex, Independence Layout Enugu. A group, by the name, Save Enugu Group, led by veteran opposition politician, Chief Willie Ezugwu had also condemned the Bill, and threatened to mobilise the people against it.

Part of the provisions in the new Bill was a 900 percent increase in the allowances of the former governors and their deputies, gifts of three exotic cars every four years, free medicare and a N12 million annual health allowance, among others.

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