When a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, wrote his successor, requesting N10 million monthly upkeep, in addition to his monthly pension as former governor, it generated furore across the country.
In the October 17 letter, Mr Yari told the incumbent governor, Bello Matawalle, that he had not enjoyed the N10 million “upkeep allowance” since July.
The former governor relied on a pension law he assented two months before leaving office, in making the request.
Pension for former governors has been a controversial issue since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.
A number of states passed laws giving huge retirement benefits to ex-governors, a practice that is much criticised by activists as extravagant and self-serving.
A report claims that 21 of Nigeria’s 36 states spent over N37 billion in such luxury retirement packages for former governors.
Aside from the monthly pay out of about N11 million, the law also provided for a house in Abuja for the former governor and his deputy.
In the ensuing uproar caused by the leaked letter of demand from Mr Yari, the state House of Assembly repealed the controversial law
While signing the repeal bill into law, Governor Matawalle accused Mr Yari of paying himself N360 million from the state’s pension funds.