Calls for law suits.
A pro-democracy and Non-governmental organization -HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the newly introduced pension scheme for Bayelsa state political office holders describing the policy as evil and retrogressive warning that the endorsement of the selfish and politically patronizing policy in Bayelsa state could lead to widespread social crime because of its manifest ill-intention and intrinsic abuse of public good.
The Right group has asked the Bayelsa state government to halt it or else the organized civil society groups should challenge it in the court of law. HURIWA said the law which is made retroactive is offensive to the fundamentals of law making process since laws ought not to be retroactive in nature.
In the media statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was unthinkable that Bayelsa state government that should be forward looking and pro-poor because of the widespread impoverishment of its people by the criminal activities of multinational crude oil drilling firms over the last many decades which also left their environment devastated including the destruction of agro-allied businesses, is rather concerned about the elitist type of criminal syndicate which the newly endorsed state-wide pension scheme for Bayelsa state political office holders represent. HURIWA applauded the decision of the Bayelsa based non governmental and civil rights groups to reject the bad law just as it has urged all Bayelsa people irrespective of political affiliations to stage civil disobedience actions should the state government fails to reverse this terribly criminal minded policy meant to benefit the already over pampered political elite.
HURIWA also stated that apart from the inherent ethical challenge that the Bayelsa state political pension portends, the policy is also a clear violations of chapters two and four of the constitution which obliges state governments to prioritize the overall public good far and above selfish pecuniary gains for the politicians. HURIWA said the idea behind aspirations to be elected to serve the people is not so that the elected officials could empty the lean state resources to quench their seemingly bottomless pit of pecuniary ambitions.
The Rights group stated that whilst the new political pension scheme offends the oath of office sworn to by these office holders because they have allowed their selfish pecuniary interests to override the public interests, HURIWA said the law was discriminatory since there is no provision for social welfare schemes for babies and the aged of Bayelsa state who are the segments of Bayelsa state that are amongst the most marginalized and vulnerable and therefore by law should be supported financially to live as human beings and not for political office holders who are already overpaid to line their pockets with filthy lucre which they now plan to legalise.
HURIWA cited section 14 (2) (a) (b) of the constitution which provides thus: It is hereby, accordingly, declared that-(a)Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and; authority;
(b) The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
HURIWA recalled that the Bayelsa state House of Assembly had reportedly triggered popular and mass angst last Wednesday when it hurriedly passed the bill sponsored by the leader of the House, Peter Akpe.
HURIWA quoted the media as reporting that the bill approved #500,000 post-service monthly pensions to a speaker of the assembly, while a deputy speaker will receive #200,000 and a member #100,000. The swift passage of the bill by the law makers without conducting any public hearing angered most indigenes, who accused Governor Seriake Dickson of being the person behind the bill.
HURIWA is also planning to do a detailed petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urge it to step in and stop the resources of Bayelsa people from being vandalised by political office holders in Bayelsa state.