Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
A civil society group, Centre for Transparency and Defence of Human Rights, is asking the Delta State High Court, Ughelli, to repeal a new provision in the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Rights and Other Benefits law of the State which extended the right to life pension to former Acting Governors.
The plaintiff also urged the court to among other things, compel the state government to recover within one month, all such money and other benefits already paid to a former Speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. Samuel Obi, who served as acting governor for less than three months.
Writing through his lawyer, Mr. Kunle Edun, who filed the suit on his behalf on Wednesday, the plaintiff equally prayed the court to award the sum of N10m as “general, punitive and exemplary damages” against the Delta State Government and Obi, who are jointly sued in the suit as the first and the second defendants, respectively.
Edun contended that the amendment of the law creating pension for a former acting governor of the state “is a gross abuse of power” by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Obi, acted as the governor of the state for less than three months during a brief exit of former Governor Uduaghan, in November 2011, has been the only beneficiary of the new provision.
According to a member of the CTDHR, Alfred Ogunli, who deposed to the affidavit filed in support of the suit, Governor Okowa, gave his assent to the amendment of the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment Law) 2019 on January 9, 2020.
Ogunli, a lawyer and indigene of Delta State, stated that the amendment provided for “humongous and bogus benefits and pension for persons who discharged the functions of governor of the state as acting Governor.
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