Former Governor of Delta, James Ibori was paid N250m by the state government while he was in jail in the United Kingdom between 2012 and 2016, an investigation has revealed.
The investigation revealed that the said amount was part of the entitlement due an ex-governor of the state.
According to the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits Law 2005 which was later amended in 2009, an ex-governor is entitled to the sum of N50m per year.
In 2012, the then Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ohgeah, who defended the payment, said Ibori would continue to be paid N50m until a court nullified his tenure in office.He said,
“The truth is that like every other elected governor who had served the state, Ibori was paid his pension entitlement and other benefits alongside his deputy under existing law.
The law is the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits Law 2005 and the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment) Law 2009.”Speaking on Saturday, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said pension for ex-governors should be scrapped.He said,
“The matter goes beyond Ibori because he is not the only ex-governor collecting the pension. The law in Delta State does not say an ex-governor should stop receiving pay if he is convicted.
“The matter shows the failure of the Nigerian system. I am not defending Ibori but I don’t think he should be singled out. Pension for ex-governors should be scrapped completely.
”Chief Press Secretary to the Delta State governor, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said on Saturday that the state will not breach the law by refusing to pay Ibori his entitlements.
“If Ibori is entitled to pension by law, we will not take it away from him because that will be breaching the law. Even if he is owed, it is sure that he deserves the entitlements.
’’It will be recalled that Ibori was convicted on February 27, 2012, after pleading guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at a Southwark Crown Court, London.