The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has stopped collecting pension and returned all payments made to him, the Kwara State Government has announced.
A statement by Isiaka Gold, Secretary to the State Government, on Wednesday said Mr. Saraki stopped collecting the payment since August 2015 and had returned all he collected prior to that time.
Earlier, Mr. Saraki had said he had returned the pension paid to him to the state government following criticism of state governors collecting pension while holding new political offices.
The senate president had come under attack, especially on social media, following reports that he was still receiving pension from the state government.
But Mr. Gold said Mr. Saraki, on his own volition, considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving senator and “chose to abandon his legal rights.”
The statement read: “The (Kwara) State Government wishes to make the following clarifications.
“That Dr. Saraki, as a two-term governor, is entitled to pension as stipulated by the third schedule, Paragraph D (i) of the Governor and Deputy Governor ((payment of pension) Law, No. 12 of 2010 of Kwara State.
“That the said pension has been duly remitted to his account, like other former governors’, since he left office but when via a letter dated 20th August 2015 addressed to the state government, Dr Saraki requested that the payment of pension to his account be stopped and the amount already credited to the account be refunded to the government, the state government promptly complied.
“That the government not only stopped the payment of the said pension, the amount already paid into Dr. Saraki’s account since he left office was deducted from the money owed to him as well as his other outstanding lawful entitlements.”
Commenting further, he said: “it should be noted that neither the Kwara State Government nor Bukola Saraki violated the state pension law or any other law for that matter. The State Pension Law empowers the State Government to pay pension to former governors of the state.
“That the Kwara State Government will want to reiterate the fact that it was Dr Saraki who on his own volition considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving Senator and chose to abandon his legal rights. We believe he should be commended for decision.”