The Socialist Party of Nigeria has flayed the approval by 33 out of 36 state Houses of Assembly, a recommendation approving life pension for former presiding officers of the National Assembly.
The group expressed its displeasure with the development in a press statement signed by its national chairman, Segun Sango, on Friday.
The recommendation is part of the ongoing amendment to the 1999 Constitution, earlier passed by the National Assembly.
The state assemblies voted in support of the alteration that will allow a former President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives to get life pensions at a rate equivalent to the annual salaries of present occupiers of the office.
In the statement, Sango described the move as “another attack on an average Nigerian who has been made to wallow in poverty in spite of the stupendous wealth of the country”.
He said, “It is absolutely immoral and wicked of National Assembly whose members claim to be the elected representatives of the common people to defraud the nation by committing public resources to the already rich few.
“Currently, Nigerian politicians, and especially National Assembly members, are the highest paid in the world. It is clear that the insatiable quest of politicians to loot the better part of the nation’s wealth is not quenched by the humongous amount politicians award for themselves at all levels, thus the new attempt to give politicians who occupied key positions permanent wages, even after they have left offices”.
Sango called on civil society organisations and other Nigerians to reject the move, which he described as oppressive.
He said, “We call on Nigerian labour movement to reject this latest fraud, and mobilise its members, civil society, oppressed and poor Nigerians out in mass movement against this fraud. This should be linked with building mass movement against all anti-poor capitalist policies.
“Today, across the country, millions of pensioners, who have committed their adult lives to the service of the country, are suffering over unpaid pensions and gratuity, while politicians, already on expensive luxuries at the expense of the public are giving themselves life pension after just a four-a year stay in offices.
“Just as the leading politicians at the federal level are awarding themselves life pensions, state officials have already started this long time ago. States like Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Kwara, among several others have enshrined life pensions for governors and their deputies.
“It is worrisome that the same National Assembly members that found it difficult to legislate mere N30, 000 minimum wage for workers, found it easy to award several millions to bourgeois politicians as salaries and life pensions”.