The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has saved his state from the hands of the narrowminded, criminal and greed legislators of Bayelsa State.
Only last week, the shameless legislators in the state House of Assembly passed a bill which accrued every past legislator a lifetime pension, if their dastard and despicable intentions had not been thwarted by Governor Dickson, with passaging such a bill, after serving as a legislator for only four years, one may pension payments for life.
Since news of the self centered and selfish plot by the lawmakers hit the public, citizens of the state have been up in arms against any move designed to make such wicked intentions possible, according to reports, civil society groups and members of the public were planning a showdown with lawmakers, however, this did not come to be, thanks to Governor Dickson who saved the day.
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Governor, Dickson was reported to have held consultations with the selfish members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly at his Toru-Orua country home, according to the report he had to explain to them why he must decline assent to such an oppressive bill.
The bill is reported to have caused a lot of ripples; and it has also attracted condemnation from the citizens of Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa State commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, quoted Dickson as saying he conveyed the decision to decline assent to the Bill in a letter he sent to the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, according to Dickson, the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the Nigerian Constitution as amended.
According to Governor Dickson, the Assembly did not have the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pensions.
Governor Dickson pointed out that, despite that Bayelsa State, because of its low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base coupled with its unstable earnings from its oil economy, it was the only state to come up with such a despicable bill.
Some concerned groups in Bayelsa State under the aegis of Embasara Foundation, advised Governor Dickson to decline assent to the pension bill. The groups, which comprise eight civil society groups in the state, said at a media briefing at the NUJ Press Centre in Yenagoa that they will protest against the bill if Dickson signs it into law.
According to the Chairman, media committee of Embasara Foundation, Dr. Ayakeme Whisky, the normal process is to conduct a public hearing to get the people’s option on the issue, however, he disclosed that members of the House passed the bill last week without following due process.
The Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) described the proposed Pension Law as a setback to sustainable development and an illegal attempt to encourage wastage, engender conflicts and deepen extreme poverty in the state. Its Chairman, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said the group described the House of Assembly’s action as an abdication of its responsibility of protecting the citizens, by delivering sustainable political goods and deliberately engaging in a measure that could worsen the people’s wellbeing.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the newly introduced the pension scheme for political office holders, describing the law as retrogressive.
The group said it is planning to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urging the anti-graft agency to step in and stop political office holders from plundering the state’s resources.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was unthinkable that the Bayelsa State government should even contemplate the law.