ABUJA, Nigeria – The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has vowed to comply with the order of a Federal High Court which directed him to recover monies being paid to former governors that are currently serving as senators and ministers.
The AGF stated this in a statement made available to journalists by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu.
Recall that Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo made the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Wednesday.
The suit was filed by SERAP, who had approached the court for an order of mandamus to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to file action to challenge states’ pension laws for former governors and recover public funds collected by them in the interest of the public.
The group further sought an order directing the AGF to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.
Responding to the judgment on Thursday, Malami said that “the Federal Government will be guided by public interest in complying with the court order.
“We will work and be guided by the legalities of the case, the dictates of justice and public interest in complying with the judgment”, the minister said.
A total of 21 states had at various times promulgated pension laws allocating huge benefits to their former governors despite public objection.
They are Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Kano, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Rivers, Niger, Kogi and Katsina states
Immediately affected by the order are five ministers in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari and nine senators.
The ministers are Mr. Babatunde Fashola (Lagos, Housing and Urban Development), Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta), Hon. Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers, Transportation), Mr. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun, Interior) and Chief Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa, State Petroleum).
The senators caught by the judgment are Orji Uzor-Kalu and Theodore Orji (Abia), Kassim Shettima (Borno), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Danjuma Goje (Gombe) Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibrahim Shekarau and Kabiru Gaya (Kano) and Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe).