The Kwara State House of Assembly on Tuesday passed an amendment bill halting payment of pension to former governors, deputy governors and other officers holding political offices after their tenure in office.
The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the House Committee on Establishment and Public Service at the Committee of the Whole House sitting in Ilorin.
The motion for the passage of the bill was moved by the Deputy House Leader, Segilola Abdulkadir and was unanimously adopted by other members.
The Deputy Speaker, Matthew Okedare, who presided over the plenary, directed the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Mohammed Katsina, to prepare a clean copy of the bill for the governor’s assent.
The bill, which was forwarded to the House by Gov. AbdulFatah Ahmed, sought to review the existing law where payment of pension for former governors and deputy governors after their tenures would be suspended.
The Kwara State Government has dismissed claim that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki received salary four years after leaving office as the governor of the state.
The denial was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Isiaka Gold.
The state government said it had only been paying Saraki pension and not salary.
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, investigator had on Wednesday informed the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, that the Senate President kept collecting salaries from the state government four years after leaving office.
The state government, however, disclosed the last amount it paid Saraki as salary was N291,474.00 meant for May, 2011, which was for his last month in office.
The statement said, “From June 2011, former Governor Saraki started receiving his pension which was N578,188.00 as other past governors in the country.
“After the review of pensions of former political office holders by the State Pension Board, the former governor’s pension increased to N1,239,493.94 monthly from October 2014 to date.
“Kwara State Government, therefore, dismissed as false and misleading the allegation that former Governor Saraki was receiving salaries after the expiration of his two-term tenure as governor of the state.”
The state government further “advised interested stakeholders to seek clarification from appropriate authority to avoid misleading the public.”
Saraki is currently standing trial at the CCT for false declaration of assets and corruption while he was the governor of the state.
The EFCC investigator had told the CCT how the commission discovered how Saraki was collecting salary even after he was elected as Senator.
Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has charged chemists to play active roles in solving Nigeria’s challenges in the areas of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agribusiness.
Gov. Ahmed gave the charge as a recipient of the 2016 Award of the America Chemical Society and Nigeria International Chemical Societies Chapter.
Dr Ahmed, who is a graduate of chemistry, noted that the prevailing economic challenges in the country and the quest for the diversification of the economy provide ample opportunities for chemists to play critical role’s in that regard.
“At a time like this, when the country is diversifying its economic base, it is expedient that chemists increase research into areas such as agro-processing, and solid Minerals Development in order to unlock the potentials in those sectors and improve their contributions to the country’s economy”, he said.
The governor added that given the critical roles of chemistry and other sciences in industrial growth, science education should be made compulsory in Secondary and Tertiary institutions to enhance reasoning skills.
“I would like to recommend the inclusion of science education as compulsory in secondary and tertiary institutions so as to enhance reasoning skills and increase the number of students choosing a career in the sciences”, the governor suggested.
According to the governor, in today’s knowledge economy, chemistry and indeed the sciences as a whole, have critical roles to play in “industrialization and ICT which remain the fulcrum in which current and future development rests”.
Gov Ahmed solicited greater synergy between the academia and government so that each can leverage on areas of competence and influence for the benefit of the society.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniy Ambali in his remarks charged chemists to ensure that serious attention is paid to effects of chemical pollution in the country.
Prof. Ambali, represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, of the institution, Prof. (Mrs) Sidikat Ijaya, said the huge volume of used vehicles imported into the country constituted environmental hazard that should be checked.
The Chairman of Annual Chemistry Scientists/Nigeria International Chemical Sciences Chapter, Prof. Joshua Ayoola Obaleye said Governor Ahmed was selected for the 2016 ACS-NICSC Award because of his contributions to the society.
Kwara State Government owned International Aviation College (IAC) in Ilorin, in partnership with the Nigerian Navy, has commenced the training of helicopter pilots with the addition of 2XAB206 Helicopters to its training fleet.
Speaking at the flag-off of the training, the Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed said the inclusion of helicopter training was part of efforts to transform International Aviation College into a one-stop aviation training institution and showcase the state as an aviation hub in the country.
Governor Ahmed said the growing reputation of IAC as a Centre of Excellence in aviation industry has manifested in its partnership with various organisations, especially the Nigerian Navy and Airforce.
“It is on record that IAC, Ilorin trained 25 cadets of the Nigeria Airforce in 2014 while several states and foreign governments have indicated interest in sponsoring students training in the college”, he said.
The governor called on aviation operators in Nigeria to employ more locally trained pilots as IAC has shown through its accomplishments, facilities and partnership with elite organisations that the country has the training facilities, structures and personnel to train world class pilots.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, in a message to the flag-off of 2xAB206 Helicopters said the Navy’s partnership with IAC was to bring together “IAC’s expertise and facilities with the Navy’s rotary facilities and experience and reputation”.
Vice Admiral Ibas noted that partnership will reduce Navy’s dependence on foreign technical training requirements and promote local capacities in line with prevailing national policy.
He added that the Nigerian Navy through the partnership hopes to train its aviators to global standards, improve their capacities through the unique combination on civil and non civil organizations that the partnership with IAC offers.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of IAC, Captain Edward Boyo, in his remarks said the College has since its establishment in 2011 successfully trained pilots and other professionals for the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Navy and Nigeria Airforce as well as civil pilots.
The Kwara State Government is to set up a Reconciliation and Rehabilitation committee that will be saddled with the responsibility of finding a permanent solution to the issue of communal clashes in the State.
The State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed made this announcement on Thursday while receiving the report of the Administrative Board of Enquiry earlier set up to look into the causes of the recent Share/Tsaragi communal clash.
According to him, the essence of establishing the committee is to find out permanent solutions to all cases of recurring communal crisis between communities across the State.
The committee is to be headed by the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, who also chaired the Administrative Board of Inquiry.
While presenting the report, the Emir expressed hope that recommendations made by the board will go a long way in ensuring lasting peace in communities across the State, stressing that the peaceful coexistence enjoyed in Kwara must be sustained.
He also thanked Governor Ahmed for giving him and other members of the Commission the opportunity to be part of the reconciliation process.
It will be recalled that Governor Ahmed earlier this month inaugurated a seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to find out the immediate and remote causes of the communal clash that broke out between Share and Tsaragi communities on December 19, 2015.