The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, says he had stopped collecting pension in Kwara State as a former governor of the state.
Saraki said this during the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja on Tuesday, adding that he had written a letter to the state government to stop the payment of the pension.
According to Saraki, the move was sequel to complaints from some quarters that former governors, who are currently senators or ministers, were receiving pension and salary in their new jobs, all from the government.
A civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, had accused the former governors of receiving double pay from government, and said it was illegal.
“No, I’m not collecting pension; the moment I saw that allegation, I wrote to my state to stop my pension.
“So, I speak for myself on that part; I’m not doing that, I am not receiving pension from my state,’’ he said.
On other senators still collecting pensions from their state, Saraki said, “I think I will leave everybody to their individual decision. Morally, if you have got another job, you should give it up until when you are truly a pensioner.
“Some of these oversights are not addressing the issues. What the states should do is to go and amend their laws to say that if you have another appointment then you are not entitled to that benefit. With this, we will just simplify the matter.”
On the role of Bank of Infrastructure in the country, Saraki said that the Senate had not had any serious interface with the bank, but that it was involved in some projects.
“We are not engaging with them particularly. I think that they were part of those involved in the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. But, I don’t think government should really put funds into that.
“I have this strong view and I feel very strongly about it, that nowhere in the world has government funded infrastructure.
“Government cannot, and even if government can fund infrastructure projects, the social sector will suffer – health will suffer and education will suffer.’’
He said there were a lot of complaints that budgetary allocation to health and education was too low, attributing it to the fact that much money was being invested in infrastructural development.
Saraki explained that due to the challenges, the National Assembly had passed bills that would encourage private sector participation in infrastructural development.
“What should happen is that we should try and get private sector to take over some of these infrastructure so that the money can go into education and health.
“By doing that, banks like Bank of Infrastructure will come in.”