Lagos, Rivers, Delta Others Owe N4tn In Domestic, Foreign Debt

A total of 26 states which have enacted laws guaranteeing pension for their former governors are indebted to the tune of about N4 trillion, a report has revealed.
According to information on the website of the Debt Management Office (DMO), the debt comprises N2,906,789,725,341.46 as domestic debt and $3,311,780,571.71 (N1,013,404,854,943.26) as foreign debt as of June 30, 2019, the Punch reports.
Leading the pack of states owing domestic lenders, according to the report, are Lagos, Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom. Others are Imo, Osun, Bayelsa, Kano, Kogi, Oyo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Borno, Edo and Gombe states
Abia, Katsina, Zamfara, Kwara, Enugu, Ebonyi, Niger, Jigawa, Sokoto, Anambra and Yobe states complete the list of domestic debtors.
Lagos State also leads the list in the foreign debt category, followed by Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Osun, Rivers, Ebonyi and Imo states.
Others include Niger, Nasarawa, Delta, Kano, Katsina, Bayelsa, Kwara, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Gombe, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kogi, Yobe, and Borno states.
Lagos State owes a total of N479 billion and $1.4 billion as domestic and foreign debts respectively. Yet the state has one of the most extravagant pension benefits for former governors and deputy governors, which was signed into law by ex-governor, Bola Tinubu, in 2007.
According to the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law, former governors of the state, who completed two terms consecutively, are entitled to a house each in any location of their choice in Lagos and Abuja.
A former governor is entitled to six new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor (N7.7m per annum), free health care for himself and members of his family as well as furniture allowance, which is 300 per cent of their annual basic salary (N23.3m).
Other entitlements include house maintenance allowance, which is 10 per cent of basic salary (N778,296); utility allowance, which is 20 per cent of the salary (N1.5m); car maintenance allowance, which is 30 per cent of the annual basic salary (N2.3m); and eight policemen and two officials of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Also included are entertainment allowance, which is 10 per cent of the basic salary (N778,296); and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 per cent of the governor’s annual basic salary (N1.9m). A former governor is also entitled to domestic workers comprising a cook, a steward, a gardener and others whose appointments are pensionable.
The former deputy governors in the state are also entitled to similar provisions in the law.
Rivers State owes the second-highest domestic debt of N266.93 billion and over $80 million in foreign debt. The state’s pension law prescribes the purchase of three new vehicles for the former governors and the vehicles are renewable every four years.
The former governors are also entitled to 100 per cent of their basic salaries, 300 per cent of their annual basic salary for furniture, free medical services and provision for their entertainment. Their deputies also enjoy certain perks.
Delta State ranks third on domestic debtors list with N233.56 billion and a foreign debt of $62.95 million. Its pension law for former governors guarantee the provision of furnished duplex in Delta State or any other state in the country; medical treatment for them and members of their immediate families; two vehicles including a utility vehicle, every two years; two armed policemen and one DSS officer; 15 days annual vacation in any place of their choice and other benefits.
The former deputy governors are also entitled to certain perks.
Akwa Ibom State is the fourth highest debtor on the domestic list with N206.4 billion and a $44.9 million foreign debt. The state’s pension law specifies the provision of vehicles and other allowances for former governors and their deputies. The former political office holders are also guaranteed medical allowances for themselves and their families.
Kano State, which owes N117.3 billion in domestic debt and $62.2 million in foreign debt, also has a provision for former governors and their deputies, including 100 per cent of the incumbent’s basic salary, six-bedroomed house and free medical treatment for them and members of their families.
Edo State, which owes N84 billion domestic debt and the second-highest foreign debt at $277.7 million, also has a similar law that, among other benefits, provides a house worth N200m for a former governor while that of the ex-deputy governor is N100 million.
Zamfara State, which owes N61bn domestic debt and $33m foreign debt, had in its law the payment of N7m monthly to former governors and N2m to former deputy governors, until former governor Abdul-Aziz Yari reviewed it to N10m and N5m monthly respectively. Also provided for them were two vehicles to be replaced every four years, free medical treatment, vacation anywhere in the world and five-bedroomed house in any state of their choice.
However, the law was repealed by the House of Assembly on November 26, 2019.

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