I have read the recent agitations for a review of the salaries and emoluments of certain public officers who are said to be earning multiple benefits as a result of the several offices that they occupy, both presently and in the recent past. I support this initiative wholeheartedly save that such campaign should be holistic and not targeted at any individual or institution.
Given the resolve of the President to stop all corrupt practices and all forms of impunity, the campaign to abolish multiple pay for all public officers should indeed start with the President. In this regard, these are my findings:
1. Under and by virtue of the Armed Forces Act, (s.25) a retired army officer, such as the President-elect, is forever a part and parcel of the Nigerian Army.
2. Under and by virtue of Paragraph 1(1) of the 1st Schedule of the Armed Forces Pensions Act, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is entitled to and has indeed been receiving and benefiting from pension, as an officer who held a regular commission, before his retirement.
3. Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (Retd.) seized power in Nigeria from an elected President, on December 31, 1983 and forcefully crowned himself as Head of State. He forcefully held on to power for 1 year, 239 days, before he was also deposed on August 27, 1985, by General Ibrahim Babangida (Retd.). He is thus a retired commissioned officer of the Nigerian Army and he remains so for as long as he lives.
4. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) attended the Council of State meetings as former Head of State, which office he held in his capacity as a Major-General.
5. Under and by virtue of section 1 of the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads of State Act No. 32 of 1999, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is entitled to a very fat salary as pension, for life. He is also entitled to the following benefits:
(i) Chief Administrative Officer of not less than Grade Level 12;
(ii) Personal Secretary of not less than Grade Level 12;
(iii) Four armed policemen as his private security;
(iv) A top ranking State Security Service officer as his Aide De Camp;
(v) Three official vehicles to be changed every four years;
(vi) Three drivers to be paid by Federal Government;
(vii) Diplomatic Passport for life;
(viii) Free medical treatment in Nigeria for himself and members of his family;
(ix) Free medical treatment abroad for himself and members of his family;
(x) Thirty days annual leave;
(xi) Well equipped and well furnished office accommodation;
(x) Well equipped and well furnished living apartment, not less than five bedroom duplex;
(xi) Free telephone, etc.
(6) The President became entitled to all the above, by virtue of his membership of the Nigerian Army; he became Head of State, by virtue of his commission as an officer of the Nigerian Army and he has earned this salaries and benefits as such, over the years, even when he contested elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
(7) Presently, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) is earning over N3m monthly as Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by virtue of the 2015 general elections, which he won.
Conclusively, let all public officers, who have occupied one position or the other in the past, be given the option to decide which benefit they want to earn, as between their past emoluments and their present ones, so that in any given occasion, let no public officer earn more than one emolument for more than one office, starting of course, with the President.
Thank you all.
EBUN-OLU ADEGBORUWA, ESQ.