Amby Uneze in Owerri
Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has signed an executive bill repealing the law that instituted pension allowances and gratuities for former governors, deputy governors, speakers, and deputy speakers of the state.
Speaking after assenting to the bill at the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chambers, Government House, Owerri, Uzodimma said a repeal of the law had become necessary as it ran contrary to the 1999 Constitution, as amended. He said the constitution stipulated that a pensioner must have worked for at least 10 years and must be up to 45 years of age.
The governor stated, “Apart from the inconsistency of such a law to the provisions of the grundnorm, which is the constitution of 1999 (as amended), this has led, for a very long time, to a precedent that does not encourage diligence and prudence in service delivery.”
He regretted a situation where some of the beneficiaries of the payments equally got huge amounts of money as salaries and allowances in other positions they occupied.
While thanking the Imo State House of Assembly for rising to the occasion and embracing the desire of government to strengthen the internally generated revenue base of the state, Uzodimma assured of his commitment to an economy that will stand the test of time.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the exercise, Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Chiji Collins, said they presented two bills for the governor’s accent. They were the Bill on Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and Bill on the repeal of Pensions and Gratuity.
Collins said the Bill on Pensions and Gratuity had long been repealed in many states of the federation when it was discovered to run contrary to the 1999 Constitution.
The Bill on Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, the speaker explained, was to ensure that the university was moved to where it belonged. He was the proper location was the Imo State College of Agriculture, Umuagwo, where the National Universities Commission (NUC) visited for accreditation, not Aboh Mbaise, as some people were clamouring.
Present at the signing of the bill to repeal the Law on Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities included Deputy Governor of Imo State, Professor Placid Njoku; Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu; Majority Leader, Uche Ogbuagu; and other members of the Assembly, as well as some members of the state’s expanded executive council.