2021 Budget, Ernest Shonekan, H1, Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon

2021 Budget, Ernest Shonekan

Nigeria to spend N7.8 billion on entitlements to ex-presidents, deputies, others in 2021

Nigeria to spend N7.8 billion on entitlements to ex-presidents, deputies, others in 2021

1/22/2021 9:00:00 AM

Nigeria to spend N7.8 billion on entitlements to ex-presidents, deputies, others in 2021

This expenditure is a yearly ritual in the nation’s budgetary cycle, and by the end of this year, it would have cost Nigeria about...

The deceased former heads are: Tafawa Balewa (only prime minister), Nnamdi Azikiwe (first ceremonial president), Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (first military head of state), Murtala Mohammed, Shehu Shagari, Sani Abacha and Umaru Yar’Adua.The nation has also had 14 vice presidents and deputy heads of state, again all men, including two different deputies under the Ibrahim Babangida military junta – Ebitu Ukiwe, 70, and Augustus Aikhomu, who died in 2011 aged 71.

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Seven of them are alive, including Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, who would later become presidents themselves. Others are Ebitu Ukiwe; Mr Abacha’s deputy, Oladipo Diya; Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo, and incumbent Yemi Osinbajo.The nation’s deceased former vice-presidents include Mr Ironsi’s deputy, Babafemi Ogundipe; Mr Gowon’s de facto deputy who died in 1991, Joseph Wey; Shehu Yar’Adua, who was Mr Obasanjo’s deputy in the latter’s military stint; Nigeria’s first democratically elected vice-president, Alex Ekwueme; Tunde Idiagbon, Mr Buhari’s deputy as head of state; Augustus Aikhomu; Mike Akhigbe, Nigeria’s last military deputy head of state.

Living presidents and their deputies are, at the expense of the federal government, entitled to at least six security details and personal aides; well-furnished office and a five-bedroom apartment in any location of their choice; vehicles replaceable every four years; diplomatic passport for life; free medical treatment, which may be abroad where necessary, for themselves and their immediate families; thirty days all-expense-paid annual vacation within and outside Nigeria. headtopics.com

The families of all deceased former presidents are, meanwhile, entitled to an annual allowance of N1 million payable as N250,000 per quarter, while the families of deceased former deputies get N750,000 per annum payable in the sum of N187,500 per quarter.

“The allowances shall be applied for the up-keep of the spouse and education of the children of deceased former heads of state and deceased former vice-presidents up to the university level,” the act reads.However, if the spouse of the deceased leader remarries, they stop getting the allowance.

Other expensesIn the same vein, the nation’s retired heads of service and permanent secretaries will get a combined N4.5 billion as benefits this year, the exact amount that has been shared among them since 2019.ADVERTISEMENTThis is an increase from the N3.6 billion the former officials got in 2018, and N2.6 billion in 2017.

Also, for the fifth year running, retired heads of government agencies and parastatals will share among themselves N1 billion as severance benefits.Allocation over the yearsPREMIUM TIMES’ review of the approved budgets since 2017 showed that the country has spent about N70 billion on the severance benefits for its former leaders. headtopics.com

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While the financial obligation will cost the country N7.8 billion this year, it cost more in the preceding years.In 2020, it cost Nigeria N11.7 billion. This amount is inclusive of the N3.9 billion budgeted as additional retirement benefits for chief of defense staff, service chiefs, generals, colonels and army warrant officers.

The amount is nonetheless way lower than the N31.5 billion spent in 2019, which included the severance package of N23.7 billion for the incoming and outgoing federal lawmakers and their aides.Nigeria spent N11.9 billion for similar purposes in 2018; and N5.9 billion in 2017, which is the lowest in five years.

Nigeria has hardly ever mulled the possibility of abolishing or significantly reducing the pension packages for its former leaders and it continues to give little recourse to economic reality which informs why it will sell some government-owned properties and borrow to finance the 2021 budget, a quarter of which will go into debt payments.

Critics have often argued that cutting the cost of governance is the brave step the country has refused to take to boost its earnings.Over the years, the national minimum wage stalled at N18,000 (about $50) until it was increased to N30,000 (about $80). Yet, some states have not met either benchmark. headtopics.com

Still, like former federal leaders, former state governors and their deputies get extravagant allowances as pension even as their states grapple with the economic downturn.Stung by this economic downturn, especially as it has been dented a hard blow by the coronavirus pandemic, some states have taken austere measures by repealing the act. A few more are underway.

Read more: Premium Times »

For a counter that's broke and still borrowing. Unless is an understatement Very nice. Way to go 🙌🤦‍♂️ Nice 👍 MBuhari What the fvck is this? Can you please abolish this wastage 4 crying out loud. Nigeria is broke & dis funds can b use 2 enhance our health care or covid-19 facility 2 enable 4 masses production. D way dis criminals are leading us 1 day go be 1 day oh. E no go beta 4 una

Entitlement to people who stole from us, why not Wondering how many COVID-19 vaccines this amount (if donated by the recipients) will procure for Nigerians... just wondering...