Enugu Patriots, an eminent Civil Society Organisation in Enugu state, has commended the members of Enugu State House of Assembly for heeding to popular opinion of the masses by stepping down the amendment of Enugu state gubernatorial pensions law of 2007, as amended.
The organization, however, called on Governor Ugwuanyi of Enugu state to enact an executive bill that would repeal and abrogate the existing gubernatorial pensions law, entirely.
In a press statement made available to media houses on Tuesday afternoon, signed by the National Coordinator – Engr. Uzoh Ifeanyi and the National Publicity Secretary – Rt. Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor, the group stated that payment of pensions to ex-governors and their deputies is an economic sabotage.
The group urged the Governor of the state to rescue the retirees in Enugu from the shackles of death by paying them their gratuities, pensions and arrears. According to the group, non compliance to their patriotic demands will lead to mass protest, legal actions and travel ban on the Governor, the deputy Governor and all the members of Enugu State House of Assembly. The full text reads as follows;
“Enugu Patriots, a forum for activists rising above party and sectional politics to create a New Enugu Agenda wishes to commend the Members of Enugu State House of Assembly for stepping down the proposed stupendous Amendment Bill for a Law to provide for the grant of PENSION to the Governor, Deputy Governor and their Wives on leaving Office.
“It is indeed a noble thing to do; to toe the path of the masses’ clarion call for the abrogation of such a Bill. The Members of the ENHA have shown that they are really representing Ndi Enugu and not themselves.
“However, it is clear that the stepped down Bill was only an Amendment to an existing Law, which was passed into Law in 2007 and amended in 2017 by this same Administration.
“From the information Enugu Patriots gathered, the few things added were;
“1.) Inclusion of the wives of the ex-governors and that of their deputies.
2.) Procurement of three exotic cars, every four years, for each of them.
“Suffice it to say that, prior to now, majority of Ndi Enugu are oblivious of the fact that our meagre resources, which are barely enough for the Development of the state and remuneration of workers, are used in servicing the ex-governors of Enugu State and their Deputies.
“Enugu Patriots, is totally against such an economic sabotage as the resources could be used in the development of the Education Sector in Enugu State, address Water Shortage and have the Gratuities, Pensions and Arrears of the Retirees in Enugu paid, as and when due.
“Thus, we wish to firmly state our Resolutions:
“1.) The Governor of Enugu state, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, should enact an executive bill to repeal the existing Enugu state Gubernatorial Pension Law 2007, as amended. We call on the Governor of Enugu State to immediately work on this, to have this existing law abrogated and repealed.
“2.) As aforementioned in our last Publication, we wish to call on the Governor of Enugu State to save the retirees in Enugu State from undue hardship and consequent death orchestrated by non-payment of Gratuities, Pensions and Arrears. The Governor of Enugu State should be mindful of the fact that these abandoned retirees are the ones that laid the foundation on which he is riding today, comfortably. If they had not laboured and toiled for the good of the state, with their youthful vigour and zeal, there wouldn’t have been “an Enugu to govern”. We ask him, as a matter of urgency, to clear the outstanding gratuities, pensions and arrears of over 18 Months owed to these retirees.
“3.) Enugu Patriots will continue to partner with the State Government in achieving any masses oriented programs and projects, especially as it concerns the youth at the grassroots. We are only opposed to policies and promulgations that have seemingly adverse consequences on our beloved state and Ndi Enugu.
“4) We therefore urge the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as a man of Peace and a man of the people to write his name in gold by working with the ENHA to repeal the law in view of present dire economic realities occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. If Lagos, Zamfara, Kwara States and more importantly our sister South East State – Imo can repeal theirs, why not Enugu State?
“5) If this existing Enugu State Gubernatorial Pensions Law 2007, as amended, is not repealed and retirees in Enugu paid their outstanding arrears cum Pensions, we shall take a legal Action against the State Government and as well mobilize all the patriotic Ndi Enugu, especially the concerned Youth bodies, to occupy the State Assemby Complex and the Government House for one full month.
“In addition to the mass protest and legal action, we shall proceed as earlier stated to furnish all the embassies in Nigeria with the passport details of all the Members of ENHA, that of the Governor and his Deputy, for a travel ban and blacklisting!
“Enugu is our home and our heritage; we are bent on seeing to its betterment and unprecedented development.
“Enugu shall be Great again!”
A patriotic question has continued to arise in the minds of the citizens; is it proper for someone who is actively involved in mainstream politics and is occupying an elective position or holding a political appointment, to be receiving pension as an ex-governor or ex-deputy governor while retirees, who served the country for thirty five solid years, have no food on their tables? Is it a trend that will lead to the development of our society with the limited resources we have? Your guess is as good as mine!