Former members of the House of Representatives in the Third Republic have called on the federal government to work towards offsetting their outstanding entitlements.
Chairman of Katsina State chapter of the erstwhile lawmakers’ forum, Hon Mustapha Bature Batsari, who made the call at a press conference in Katsina yesterday, said payment of the their entitlements would justify federal government’s commitment to uplifting democracy in the country after the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day.
Batsari lamented that no fewer than 11 out of the 26 members that represented each of the then local government areas of the state in the National Assembly had passed on leaving behind orphans and widows since they were “undemocratically chased out unceremoniously by a military regime in 1993” after they were sworn in as legitimate parliamentarians.
He said: “Today’s gathering is more to celebrate Mr. President’s high foresightedness for choosing 12th June as Democracy Day,” adding the recognition accorded M.K.O Abiola and Babagana Kingibe is by extension to all former members of the Third Republic.
He asked: “If all those elected in the Third Republic under the platform of SDP and NRC from councillors to state governors including their special advisers who were not elected were paid, why can’t we be paid our entitlements?
“If Shonekan as an Interim Head of State during our tenure was paid his office entitlements as severance gratuity, why can’t we be paid as National Assembly members?”
According to him, with the recognition accorded to both M.K.O. Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, as President and Vice President (yet to be sworn-in), by the President Muhammadu Biuhari led APC administration, they deserved the same gesture.
Bature also expressed concern that several attempts had been made by the national leadership of the forum even to the extent of reaching an out of court settlement to get their allowances paid but to no avail.
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