Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:45 pm
With this development, the governor said this section should revert to the open ended situation before the amendment.
His reason was that he was deeply saddened by the vilification of the members of the state legislature for undertaking a course of action which, “as a state, we should applaud.” He added: ” I reject the unwarranted condemnation of this altruistic amendment.” In other words, the governor was not happy that an amendment which put a ceiling to what the former governors and deputy governors should spend on medical bills per year in order to prevent abuse was miscontrued by critics.
Akpabio recently signed into law the Amended Pension Bill for Ex-Governors (spouses) and Ex-Deputy Governors (spouses) in the state, which was to take effect June 1.
When he signed it, he said: “The essence of the law is to streamline and avoid excesses of finances and to be prudent in the management of our resources. The Constitution has empowered us to make laws. So, we have today made the pension law for ex-governors and ex-deputy governors.
The law, according to him, was made in 2000. It was amended in 2006 and is now amended again in 2014. The essence of the amendment was because staff such as cooks, drivers, among others were hired by the ex-governors and ex-deputy governors with a non-financial benchmark.
“All staff of the ex-governors should not earn more than N5 million annually and all staff of the ex-deputy governors should not earn more than N2 million annually. No ex-governor can spend more than N100 million in a year for medical expenses and no ex- deputy governor can spend more than N50 million for medical expenses, because we are making sure that we cover all the loopholes of financial wastage. Widows of ex-governors will receive a minimum of N1 million monthly for medical expenses and N500,000 medical expenses for the widows of ex-deputy governors.”
Akpabio hinted that the law also covers those who served in the old Cross River State, adding that the law was “to streamline and to bring sanity into state finances,” which he said had been misinterpreted by the public and resulted to a lot of bashing in the social media.
This evening, Akpabio said that with excision of the section on medical bills, “the agents of falsehood would lift their siege on truth and not distract the good people of Akwa Ibom from the uncommon transformation of the state.”