Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Monday, commenced the moves to repeal the law that provides for the payment of pensions and other fringe benefits to political office holders in the state.
The bill titled: “Public Office Holders (Payment of Pension) Repeal Bill, 2020”, scaled the second reading after deliberations by some lawmakers.
The lawmakers, however, argued that it would not be too good to repeal the law in its entirety as there were some important sections and stipulations that should be considered.
Speaking on the bill, Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu (Agege 2), explained that the bill is to ensure the stoppage of pensions to governors and deputies when they leave office, adding that this decision was in consideration of the country’s current economic challenges.
Ogundimu argued that the governors and their deputies and other such political office holders should be made to enjoy some benefits no matter how little.
He also argued that the bill should be amended in such a way that it would not throw former political officers to security challenges, noting that if the original law is repealed in its entirety, it would mean withdrawing all security agents and domestic staff earlier attached to them.
On his part, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), noted that the parliament has the power to make and review laws, especially one like the pension bill that was passed 14 years ago and needs to be looked at again.
He said the objective of the bill as raised by the executive is to ensure that the state begins to look inward in relation to cost of governance.
He added that by virtue of his position as chairman of the committee on economic planning and budget, he has had the opportunity to check the finances of the state and would say Lagos is not very rich, but only has people who effectively manage its resources.
He also agreed that the security of the lives of such political office holders when they leave office should be considered, urging that the bill be committed to a committee.
In his contributions, Hon. Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu 2), said he supports an amendment to the law instead of a repeal.
Hon. Tobun Abiodun (Epe 1) said he does not subscribe to a total repeal of the law because it would give room for corruption in office.
He said provisions should be made available to governors, deputies and possibly speakers after they leave office.
Other lawmakers who supported amendment to the law include Hon. Jude Idimogu )Oshodi-Isolo 2), Hon. Saad Olumo (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1) and Hon. Abdulsobur Olawale (Mushin 2).
However, Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa observed the questions and suggestions raised by the lawmakers.
He also supported arguments that repealing the law in totality would expose former governors and deputies to security challenges.
“I don’t think we should trash it in totality,” he said as he committed the bill to the Committee on Establishment with a two-week mandate for a report to be submitted to the House.