The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, an anti-corruption advocacy group, has advised Kano State Gov., Abdullahi Ganduje, not to assent to a bill seeking life pension, luxury vehicles and foreign medical trips for members of the Kano State House of Assembly.
It said rather than signing the bill, the governor should prevail upon the lawmakers to “subordinate their interests to the public good, live on fair and equal terms with their fellow citizens, and not use their legislative powers to convert public resources to their own benefit.”
In an open letter on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP warned that if the governor went ahead to assent to the bill, he should be ready to face legal actions, both nationally and internationally.
The group described the bill as proposed by the Kano State legislators as oppressive and a violation of the obligation to impartiality to the people of Kano they are elected to serve.
“This bare desire by the lawmakers of the Kano State House of Assembly to pass a bill to award to themselves life pensions, foreign medical trips and brand new vehicles every four years is oppressive and violates the obligation of impartiality to the people of Kano they are elected to serve and the ideals of fiduciary government. The bill, proposed by Baffa Baba Dangundi, is a textbook case of diversion of public resources to private purposes.
“Rather than passing bills to divert public resources for personal benefits, the lawmakers should pass legislation that will urgently address the chronic problem of over three million out-of-school children in Kano (the highest in Nigeria) and ensure immediate payment of outstanding pensions and workers’ salaries, given that the state government has already received N21.7bn from the Paris Club debt refund, and also reportedly received in 2018 N84.2bn from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
“Government is a trust for the benefit of the governed, and members of the Kano State House of Assembly ought to be guardians of justice, general good and public interests. There is indeed a duty on the lawmakers to subordinate their own interests to those they are supposed to serve. But rather than acting as the ‘servants of the people,’ the lawmakers have acted in a self-serving way and pushing to enrich themselves at the expense of the people of Kano,” the group said.