The Global Information Team yesterday said Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) lacked the powers to issue an ultimatum to the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) over proposed pension plan to political office holders.
The group which challenged the recent call by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on the Abuja Municipal Area Council to suspend the proposed pension scheme for ex-council chairmen, vice chairmen as well as speakers said they are overstepping their boundaries.
The Global Information Team through its country representatives, Salihu Dantata Mahmud, described SERAP’s 14 days ultimatum given to AMAC as illegal, unconstitutional and flying above range which ought to be the authorities of only recognised anti-graft agencies, Police, Revenue Mobilization, FCT administration, National Assembly as well as the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“SERAP is only a non-governmental organisation and pressure group which is a voluntary organisation. The acclaimed anticorruption CSO should understand that local governments are also tiers of government outside the state and federal.” It queried why SERAP refused to give ultimatum to the federal government on the life pensions for ex-heads of state and presidents or issue ultimatum to state governments on life pensions for former state governors.
“SERAP needs to know that the incumbent chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council has set a positive precedence as the first ever local government chairman to take such bold steps. At a time we are fighting corruption, such pension schemes could discourage local government top echelons especially the politically elected ones from stealing or embezzling public funds while in office. Recently, the Budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari included packages for Former Heads of State and Presidents as well as Former Senate Presidents, Deputy Senate Presidents, Former Speakers and their deputies in the House of Representatives. Rather than issuing ultimatum to the Municipal Council, SERAP should redirect its anti-corruption energy to investigation of other sectors of the government that directly affects the lives of Nigerians. It is high time we stop playing politics with sensitive national issues,” Dantata added.
Speaking further, Dantata said: “How much is N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000 respectively for former chairmen, vice chairmen and Speakers compared to the sacrifice and contribution made by these class of grassroots leaders while they were in office,” Danata asked.