Kwara state government has confirmed that a former governor of the state now Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has returned all the pension he has received since leaving office.
The Secretary to Kwara State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, made this known on Wednesday in Ilorin in a press statement issued to clarify the issue of Saraki’s pension being paid by the state government.
In the statement, the state government said it has received Saraki’s refunds and also seized to pay him pension.
The statement read:
“The attention of Kwara state government has been drawn to issues surrounding the payment of pensions to former governors of the state, especially the senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON.
“As a result, the state government wish 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. In view of the foregoing, it should be noted that neither the Kwara state government nor Dr 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.”
However, the statement was silent on whether the house the state reportedly bought for the senate president had also been returned.
Senator Saraki had written to the state government to stop paying him pension and also refunded the ones paid to him after the Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP) raised an alarm that the senate president and some former governors, who now hold political office, were receiving double pay.
Saraki had earlier told the press that he stopped collecting pension in Kwara state, where he was the governor between 2003 and 2011.He also said he wrote a letter to the state government to stop the payment of the pension.