A Muslim group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has kicked against the payment of 10-year allowances to former heads of state of Nigeria.
MURIC’s reaction comes after some former heads of state are allegedly warming up to collect about ten months arrears of allowances.
Among them are General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), General Abdul Salaam Abubakar (rtd) and General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd).
In a statement signed by MURIC director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the group said it is deeply disappointed that these retired army generals and former heads of state cannot voluntarily forgo their entitlements particularly in Nigeria’s trying period. They are still expecting payment of arrears of salaries when workers have not been paid for months in some states.
“We are constrained to ask the former heads of state, “What exactly do you want to offer this country in these troubled times? What are you prepared to sacrifice?
“Who among you is a pauper today? Who among you is not a billionaire? Who among you is ready to declare his assets as they stand at the moment? Do you really need these arrears before you can survive?”
“MURIC charges the Federal Government (FG) to withhold the arrears of former heads of state until the country gets out of the current recession.
“This is how Nigeria is being bled nearly to death. There are too many yawning drainages.
“It is most unwise for this country to continue to throw scarce resources down drain pipes. This culture of waste must stop,” MURIC said.
The group then went on to take on governors. “Twenty one (21) ex-governors are currently in Senate. They get salaries, houses, vehicles, staffers, etc from their states as former governors.
“The vehicles must be changed every three years. This is parliamentary fraud. They are collecting full salary as senators and pension entitlements as ex-governors.
“Nigeria is indeed adept at wasting resources. This country is being scammed,” MURIC added.
“Enough is enough. ‘Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.
“The middle class has long been eliminated and the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider every day.
“Too many people are hungry. Too many people are starving and somebody is talking about paying arrears to ex-heads of state,” the statement said.
MURIC said Nigerian workers are overworked, underpaid and overtaxed.
“Their take-home pay cannot take them home. We are just being patient with FG because we have faith in the Buhari administration.
“We have seen how prudent FG has been since Buhari took over. That prudence must be maintained.
“We therefore say capital ‘NO’ to salary arrears for overfed ex-presidents.”