Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the life pension being allegedly proposed for lawmakers in Lagos State is against constitutional provisions.
The rights activist was reacting to a recent media report that members of the Lagos State House of Assembly were deliberating on a bill proposing life pension for the Speaker of the House and his deputy.
Reacting to the purported legislation on Sunday, Falana said lawmakers, being only part-time workers, were not entitled to any form of pension under the Pension Reforms Act, 2014.
He described the move as insensitive and immoral “at a time when workers are owed salaries and allowances”.
According to him, “Instead of slashing the salaries and allowances of top public officers, curb waste and eliminate official corruption to meet the cost of governance, legislators are planning to pay pension for life to themselves.
“Last week, the media drew the attention of Nigerians to a bill designed to grant pension for life to the leaders of the Lagos State House of Assembly. If the bill is passed and assented to by the Governor, other Houses of Assembly in the country will surely follow suit. It is therefore pertinent to point out that part-time and temporary workers are not entitled to the payment of pension under the Pension Reforms Act, 2014”.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria argued that the position of the law was clear as to the non-entitlement of legislators to pension since they are not civil servants and are only required by the Constitution to sit for not more than 181 days or six months in a year.
He stressed that only the President and governors were entitled to pension in line with Section 84(5) and 124(5) of the Constitution, adding that if the Lagos legislators did not drop the idea, he would not hesitate to challenge them in court.