The Federal Government has allocated the sum of N432.193 million for the purchase of cars for the Seven former Presidents/Heads of State and four Vice Presidents. The figure also included funds for the purchase of vehicles as contained in the proposed 2017 federal budget.
Specifically, for the Procurement of vehicles for the seven former Presidents and Heads of State, the sum of N280.099 million was set aside, while the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has proposed N120.090 million for the purchase of cars for the four former Vice Presidents.
This is a far cry from the N2.3billion the Federal Government proposed to spend on the 11 former leaders and families of those who are dead, in 2016.
In spite of budgetary provisions, four of the former leaders – Shagari, Babangida, Obasanjo and Jonathan, were last month, reported to be owed 10 months pension arrears.
Disclosing this to visiting members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs in Abuja, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal said President Buhari could not approve payments for the affected ex-presidents due to lack of funds.
Adapted from the United States of America, which has an elaborate welfare package for former rulers, Nigeria started paying entitlements to former presidents by Decree 32 of 1999. In 2001, it became the Remuneration of former Presidents, heads of Federal legislative Houses and Chief Justices of the Federation (and other Ancillary Matters) Act. The Act was further amended by the National Assembly in 2008 and 2010.
The 1999 Law provides for the remuneration of former Presidents and former Vice presidents, each former President and former Head of state is entitled to N350,000 per month, while former Vice Presidents and former Chiefs of General Staff are entitled to N250,000 per month for their up-keep. The Act states: “As from the commencement of this Act, all former-Presidents and Heads of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Heads of State”) shall be-(i) paid the sum of N350,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part I of the Schedule to this Act; and (b)Vice-Presidents and Chiefs of General Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Vice-Presidents”) shall be- (i) paid the sum of N250,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act.
There were also provisions for domestic staff, security aides, vehicles and up keep allowances for families of deceased presidents.
The former Presidents and former Heads of State are General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Goodluck Jonathan. The former Vice Presidents and former Chiefs of General Staff are Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Air Cdr Ebitu Ukiwe, General Oladipupo Diya, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Alhaji Namadi Sambo.