The governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle, has slammed the former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari for paying himself N300million severance while the state owed N10billion in pensions.
Matawalle has therefore stated that the savings from the state’s repealed pension law for ex-governors will be used for youth empowerment and the development of infrastructure in the state.
According to NAN, the governor spoke on Wednesday while assenting to the repealed law in which past governors, deputy governors, speakers of the state house of assembly earned about a billion naira annually as upkeep allowance.
The governor said the repealed law, which was hurriedly passed by the immediate past administration of the state, did not take into account the social and economic realities of the state.
He said his administration would only pay allowances as provided by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“I was shocked when I received a letter from former governor Yari for the payment of the money that the failure of which I learned, the former governor threatened my administration with a court case,” he said.
“I called a meeting with my deputy as well as the speaker of the state house of assembly and we all agreed that we do not have any interest in such retirement allowance.”
“Although the immediate past administration in the state left behind pensions liabilities of local government workers, primary school teachers and state civil servants amounting to about N10 billion.
“Apart from other liabilities such as promotion benefits, workers annual increment and the rest which have put the state in a terrible financial quagmire.
“The immediate past governor Yari is requesting the state government to pay him a whooping amount of N120 million annually, made up of a monthly upkeep allowance of N10 million.
“The ex-governor who recently wrote to the state government in this regard, was also under the repealed law supposed to be collecting the exact amount he was collecting as his monthly salary while as governor which should continue for him for life as his pension.
“In addition to these, he is supposed to get two vehicles to be bought by the State Government and replaceable after every four years; Free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and outside.
“Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria and a 5-bedroom house in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the country. ”
The governor also said the law extends to former deputy governors, former speakers of the state assembly, and former deputy speakers.
“If allowed thus, it will overstretch the lean resources of the state at a time when the same people who were supposed to pay the meagre amount as pensions to retired civil servants refused to do so and handed them over as liabilities to the present administration,” Matawalle said.
He said his administration is trying to put the state on a sound footing by stopping armed banditry and other security challenges so as to attract local and foreign investors.