The bill seeking lifetime pension for lawmakers in Bayelsa state has hit the rocks after it was transmitted to the state Governor Seriake Dickson, for his assent.
Governor Dickson has declined assent to the bill proposed and passed by the Assembly.
According to the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the governor’s position was made known in a letter he sent to the speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday.
During a meeting with Assembly members in his hometown, Toru-Orua, he explained that the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
He added that he was guided by the principle that the government should not be for a select class of the privileged in the society, and would not discard it over seven years into his administration.
“The lawmakers and indeed the Nigerian populace would attest to the fact that all decisions of his administration were guided by the strong urge to protect the public interest and promote the general good”.
According to him, the quest to protect the vulnerable against the privileged few inspired the populist programmes of his administration which include the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme with over 150, 000 beneficiaries, the Education Trust Fund, the scholarship programmes that are supporting our young people in their studies both locally and outside the country, the various empowerment programmes, support for the aged, the most vulnerable, massive employment, public housing and a number of other social intervention programmes which are already taking root.
He said that 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 the assembly members and other appointees at the state and local government levels who are interested can take advantage of it.
The Governor urged the Assembly members to liaise with the committee adding that if legislative action was required after the work of the committee, he would readily communicate with them.