By Titilope Fadare
OrderPaperToday – The Government of Kwara State has affirmed that it stopped paying pension to former governor and President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki due to his own volition.
The government also stated that all the pensions paid before it was stopped were returned by Saraki.
This disclosure was made in a statement signed by the Secretary of the state government, Sola Gold on Wednesday.
The statement however, reiterated that the payments hitherto made were based on state pension law applicable to ex governors.
OrderPaper.ng had earlier reported how controversies were raised by civil society organizations that Saraki still receives pension from Kwara state after his tenure ended as the governor in 2011.
The statement reads: ” The attention of Kwara State Government has been drawn to issues surrounding the payment of pensions to former governors of the state, especially the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON. As a result, the State Government wish to make the following clarifications:
“That Dr Saraki, as a two-term Governor, is entitled to pension as stipulated by the third schedule, Paragraph D (i) of the Governor and Deputy Governor ((payment of pension) Law, No. 12 of 2010 of Kwara State.
“That the said pension has been duly remitted to his account, like other former Governors’, since he left office but when via a letter dated 20th August 2015 addressed to the state government, Dr Saraki requested that the payment of pension to his account be stopped and the amount already credited to the account be refunded to the Government, the State Government promptly complied.
“That the Government not only stopped the payment of the said pension, the amount already paid into Dr. Saraki’s account since he left office was deducted from the money owed to him as well as his other outstanding lawful entitlements.
“In view of the foregoing, it should be noted that neither the Kwara State Government nor Dr. Bukola Saraki violated the state pension law or any other law for that matter. The State Pension Law empowers the State Government to pay pension to former Governors of the State.
“That the Kwara State Government will want to reiterate the fact that it was Dr Saraki who on his own volition considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving Senator and chose to abandon his legal rights. We believe he should be commended for decision.
“That it is the hope of the Kwara State Government that this clarification will end all the controversy about this issue.”