The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent Freedom of Information requests to state governors to disclose details of payment of pensions to former governors and other ex-officials between 1999 and 2019 under their pension laws.
The organisation also asked each of the 36 state governors to provide information on whether any such pension law exists in their state, and provide the names and number of ex-governors and other ex-officials receiving pensions in the state.
The group also asked the governors to publicly commit to repealing the law, and to pursue recovery of funds collected under the pension law.
In the letter dated December 9 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP argued that public officials should not encourage, sustain, or implement jumbo pension laws that show an appearance of conflict of interest, impropriety or create situation of personal enrichment.
“The pension law negates the duty to act honestly and to represent the needs and concerns of the people, and to refrain from activities, which interfere with the proper discharge of public functions,” it said.
“Any such pension law also represents the use of public office to advance private interests at the expense of some public interest, suggests the misuse of legitimate discretion for improper reasons, and has created a more cynical public view of politics and politicians,” the group added.
The organisation contended that those who manage the resources of the state must protect the interest of the people in their states.
“Public officials, while entrusted with duties and discretions, are not to act in their own best interest, but to discharge those duties and exercise those powers in the interests of the public.”
“Pension law for former governors and other senior ex-officials represents a conflict with the constitutional and legal conflict code of conduct for public officials, and would seem to prioritise private interest of former state officials over and above the public interest and public duties of state governors.”