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Gov. Akpabio’s ₦100m Retirement Medical Largesse Inappropriate — Poll

Gov. Akpabio’s ₦100m Retirement Medical Largesse Inappropriate — Poll
Governor Godswill Akpabio

Nigerians have said it is not appropriate for the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, to sponsor a bill awarding N100m medical benefits to himself, the state’s ex-governors and their deputies in retirement.

He may be in the good books of the state’s House of Assembly members, who last week, passed his Akwa Ibom State Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2014, but he has undoubtedly by that singular act put himself in the bad books of some Nigerians.

This is the outcome of a recent poll by Punch Online, which opened on May 27, 2014, and closed on June 3, 2014.

Gov. Akpabio’s ₦100m Retirement Medical Largesse Inappropriate — Poll
Poll Results

In the poll, 936 respondents responded to the question, ‘Is it appropriate for Gov. Godswill Akpabio to sponsor a bill awarding N100m medical benefits to himself and state’s ex-governors in retirement?’, choosing either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

The online poll showed that 898 respondents, representing 96 per cent, were outraged by the decision of the governor to bring up such an initiative, in spite of the huge challenges in different parts of the country, including his state.

Conversely, 38 respondents, which represent four per cent, believed Akpabio was in order to have taken such an initiative.

Akpabio had signed the bill into law despite the widespread outrage it generated.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Anietie Ukpe, while justifying his boss’s bill, said, “The law has been there. What the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly did was just to create a ceiling. The law said former governors were entitled to maids but did not add a ceiling, which meant that a former governor could get a maid with a doctorate degree and be paying the individual N10m.

“The former provision stipulated that the governor and deputy governor would be entitled to medical treatment; the bill did not specify the limit to the amount these individuals could access.

“The governor could access up to N1bn for his medical bill, but with the amended law of 2014, medical expenses have been restricted to N100m a year.”

The action of the governor and the endorsement by the lawmakers have received flaks from human rights group, and a former Deputy Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Mr. Uwem Udoma.

Udoma said, “I see a lot of greed in the framing of this particular bill. You spend up to N350m on a single individual; that is about N1.4bn for a year, and N1.4bn a year is almost equal to some state’s allocation for a month.”

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