Laleye Dipo in Minna
Following the controversy generated by the payment of pensions to former governors, their deputies and former political leaders across the country, the Niger State government has said that it does not pay pension to its former governors and their deputies.
Instead, the government said it pays what it called “severance allowance to all departing political heads”.
A statement by the Director General of the Niger State Pension Board, Alhaji Ahmed Tinau Mohammed, said: “Beneficiaries of severance allowance are political heads at state and local government levels which also include former governors and their deputies, local government chairmen and their deputy and state legislators and councillors
“The severance allowance is not a recurring perpetual payout but a one time payment authorized under extant state law.
“This payments (severance allowance) are supported by an extant law known as a law to provide special grants/severance allowances to all political office holders in the state including governors and their deputies; 2013.”
The statement said the clarification had become necessary following the inclusion of Niger State in the list of states owing ex-governors’ pension.
Mohammed asserted that “to the best of my knowledge there is no state law, past or present that awards a regular pension to be paid to former Niger State governors as pension”.
“The gospel truth is that the state does not pay a dime to our former governors as pension,” he declared.
However, the statement did not say if all the former political heads have been paid their “severance allowance” as provided by law.
Efforts to get the comments of some of the affected political heads were abortive as they did not respond to calls made to their cell phones.