Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has declined assent to the bill seeking life pension for former lawmakers from the state as proposed and passed by the state House of Assembly last week.
The controversial bill has attracted condemnation from Bayelsans, including civil society groups who were planning a showdown with the lawmakers.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who said this on Monday, added that the governor had conveyed his decision to decline assent to the bill in a letter to the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday.
He said the governor held consultations with the Assembly members in Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for rejecting the bill to the lawmakers.
Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor as having said that the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Dickson said he was of the view that the state Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pension.
He stressed that he had to withhold assent to the bill because the state, which was bedevilled with a lot of challenges in spite of its low Internally Generated Revenue base and unstable earnings from the oil economy, was the only state in Nigeria to come up with such a bill.
The governor stressed that he was guided in the decision by the principle that government should not be for a select privileged few in the society.
He said the lawmakers and indeed the Nigerian populace would attest to the fact that all the decisions of his administration were guided by the urge “to protect public interest and promote the general good.”
Dickson said, “The provisions of this bill granting pension to members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the extension of same to former members of the Assembly and Bayelsa indigenes who served in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, is inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“I am not convinced about the legality of this bill which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension. While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.
“Evidently, there is no record of any other state in this country that has expanded the categories of pensionable public officers to include lawmakers. I do not agree that Bayelsa, which is coping with all the myriads of issues and challenges, with our low Internally Generated Revenue base and the unpredictable oil economy, should be the first to initiate this.
“Honourable members of this Assembly, Bayelsans and other Nigerians following our progress as a government would clearly attest to the fact that my entire public service, actions and decisions are marked by what is in the public interest, particularly the interest of the vulnerable, ordinary people. It is in the service of this category of people that in the last seven years, I have, in an unprecedented manner, which only history will record and reward, extended the frontiers of the benefits of purposeful democratic governance.
“It is my philosophy that government should not be for a select few. In the last seven years, my actions and decisions, which have sometimes elicited opposition from the elite who have been feeding fat on the resources of our state, have been marked by this singular disposition of mine.
“And I do not intend at this point to abandon that. Rather, I intend to do more to consolidate on the policies and actions which have been taken to protect the vulnerable. Therefore, I am unable to assent to this bill which in my view aims to expand and consolidate the class interest of a privileged few.”
The governor said the quest to protect the vulnerable against the privileged few inspired the populist programmes of his administration.
These, he said, included the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme with over 150, 000 beneficiaries, the Education Trust Fund, local and foreign scholarship programmes, empowerment schemes, support for the aged, the most vulnerable, employment, public housing and a number of other social intervention programmes.
He commended the leadership of the House for the healthy relationship with the executive and the high level of productivity as shown by the high number of bills and motions passed during the period.
Dickson said notwithstanding his decision to decline assent to the bill, he still “holds the Assembly in very high esteem.”
The governor also noted that he had to set up a committee on the contributory pension scheme to make it workable so that interested assembly members and other appointees at the state and local government levels could take advantage of it.
Legit.ng Makes Top Five Facebook Publishers in March 2022
Nigeria’s leading digital news media publisher, Legit.ng strengthens its hold as top digital media platform on Facebook with over 14 million engagement in March and a total article count of 4,264.
Ending Q1 on a big note, Legit.ng has once again been recognized by Newswhip in the top 5 Facebook Publishers in March 2022. The acclaimed Nigeria’s number 1 online news and entertainment Platform, Legit.ng overthrew American publisher CNN from its formerly occupied 5th place , with 14,636,032 Facebook engagements and 4,264 Article counts.
Without doubt, this is proof to the news publisher’s readers and the media ecosystem in Nigeria that it continues to lead the way in the Nigerian media. The leading digital news platform comes next in line to globally acclaimed publishers like Dailywire, Dailymail, Mirror and BBC, in the Newship Analytics March ranking.
How media houses were assessed
The analysis was based on English-language content from publishers, and it is ranked based on Facebook likes, shares and comments to the web content and ranked by domain.
Leading the way through news
Legit.ng continues to lead the way as a recently published report shows that the no.1 online news website in Nigeria has one of the most engaging Facebook pages in Africa.
Share in our success and join our online community of readers Legit.ng (former Naij.com) is the largest online publisher in Nigeria (by Alexa rank). Every month 10m+ users reach 50m pageviews on our website.
Legit.ng also has an impressive social media presence with 11.4m Facebook followers on all pages, achieving an average post reach of 80,000. Every 4th Nigerian who is on Facebook is a Legit.ng page subscriber.
As the biggest news publisher in the country, Legit.ng has a responsibility to improve the lives of our readers in any way possible. That is why we pride ourselves in creating life-changing news that makes our readers more conscious about the world around them.
Second Term: My Bid to Return Out of Commitment to Democratic Ideals – Demola Doherty
Hon. Demola Doherty is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a House of Representatives aspirant in Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos State. Addressing newsmen recently, Doherty highlighted his achievements as an Executive Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government and his desire for a second term.
“The administration in which I was the Executive Chairman remains a reference and legacy administration in Ifako-Ijaiye till date, the more reason the people yearn for my return as Chairman for 2nd term in office.
“The template for the infrastructural developments witnessed during our first term is still with us upon which successive governments have built their projects but we still have a lot to do to remove Ifako-Ijaiye from the sub-urban status.
“Classical examples of infrastructures visible on ground are drainages & road construction viz: Mojisola Str, Adekoya Str, Gospel Crusader, Abu Alfred, Aina Ajobo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Rd. (Old Akute Road) et al.
“The health of the people was of utmost importance to us hence the concept of Ashabi Taiwo Maternity.
“My next term plan is to address strategic roads yet to be done, such as Oshola Str., Powerline, Ibari Str. and link Ogundimu to Olowo surbub. I also intend to team up with our Assembly member to accelerate construction of Abiola Onijemo bridge.
The health of the people was paramount to our being in govt hence the concept of New Ashabi Taiwo Maternity, upgrade of Ajilete PHC for 24hrs service.
Construction of New Ogundimu PHC; donation of 30 KVA Diesel Generator; Out Patient benches for Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital and financial support.
Three new buildings, consisting 36 classrooms were constructed in Ajuwon (Ward F), Ogundimu (Ward F) Fagba (Ward D) and Rmrehabilitation of Bishop Oluwole Primary School (Ward C1).
Desks, chairs & tables were provided for pupils and teachers, respectively.
Yearly bursary to tertiary institutions students were increased by 50% and paid regularly. Indigent students were annually assisted with free WAEC/GCE forms and extra-mural classes.
Bags, English Language workbooks, exercise books and writing materials were provided free to 8000 pupils & students of Ifako-Ijaiye as dividend of democracy.
My next term plan is to wholly support Hon. Tope Adewale our Assembly member, to increase the number of free JAMB forms beneficiaries to 100% and to provide additional support to tertiary students in our local govt area.
Ishaga market was expanded and rebuilt to accommodate more market women and men. My next term plan is to rebuild NRC Area Office as well as Obawole/Ndike/Powerline Market.
The political class witnessed remarkable cohesion with local govt support during our last outing but there is a great deal of room for improvement.
My next term plan is to restructure wealth creation and poverty alleviation in a way that items relevant to the specific needs of the people shall be given out to reduce poverty in the land and make them self-sustainable.
Cleric Offers Scholarship to Underaged Victims of Sexual Abuse
A popular Islamic cleric, philanthropist, business and Estate mogul, and founder, Sebilu Nnajat TV, Sheikh Hammed Olanrewaju Alfulaany, has offered scholarships to two sexually abused underaged girls, aged 14 and 16, who were sexually molested by their parents.
The victims, Ayomide Rachael Johnson, and Motunrayo Ogunsanwo, were allegedly sexually assaulted by their fathers in Meiran, and Epe respectively before they were rescued by Lady of Africa Foundation.
The organization reported the matter to the police and the fathers were arrested. The case is presently in court.
The Cleric was approached by the Founder and National Coordinator of the Foundation, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, to assist the victims in furthering their education. Since their case became public knowledge, the victims had been under the care of the Foundation.
Upon hearing the plights of the victims, the business mogul offered to sponsor their education to University level and promised to take care of their feeding and daily expenses.
The elated Princess Bukola Fasuyi expressed gratitude to the cleric for coming to the aid of the victims, and urged other philanthropists to follow suit by coming to the assistance of the Foundation in providing succour to the needy.
Apart from the victims, the business mogul also offered scholarships to a 22year old Barakat Hassan and her 24-year old sister, Azeezat, who were abandoned by their mother for 22 years after she packed out of her matrimonial home.
Their situation became worst after the death of their father, as they had no one to take care of them.
Barakat lost her sight in the process, placing a heavy burden on her sister to fend for both of them.
Their plight was brought to the attention of the philanthropist who offered to foot the medical bill of Barakat running into millions of naira. She is presently receiving medical attention in one of the top hospitals in Lagos.
The two sisters have also been given accomodation by the philanthropist and are on the verge of enrolling in school.
While eulogising the philanthropic gesture of Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi said the philanthropist has demonstrated there should be no religious or ethnic biases towards helping the needy, adding such gestures should be emulated by every Nigerian.
She called on International community, government and well-to-do Nigerians to support Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany in his philanthropic gesture as well as come to the aid of Lady of Africa Foundation in it’s quest to give back to the society.