Saturday, January 2, 2016

Obanikoro, Shekarau, other Jonathan’s ministers lose severance package

No fewer than  14  ministers in the  Goodluck Jonathan Administration will not receive  any severance package from the  Muhammadu Buhari government having allegedly failed to meet the requirement for benefitting from such.

It is also gathered that  most of the new  36 ministers  inherited  decrepit offices, making it difficult for them to  settle down for work.

The ex-ministers that may forfeit their severance package  are said to have spent less than two years in office to qualify for the package.

Investigation revealed that the Buhari administration has stuck to the implementation of the terms of appointment of the over 14 former ministers.

A clause in their appointment letters reads in part: “Severance Allowance of 300 %of Annual Basic Salary payable after full tenure of office with government. The allowance will be pro-rated after a minimum of two years tenure.”

It was learnt that some of the affected ex-ministers barely spent a year or three months in office.

In this category are  Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos)-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II; Mr Kenneth Kobani (Rivers)-Minister of State for Trade and Investment; Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarawa)-Minister of Information; Nicholas Akise Ada (Benue)- Minister of State for Foreign Affairs I; Augustine Akobundu (Abia)- Minister of State for Defence; Fidelis Nwankwo (Ebonyi)-Minister of State for Health; Hauwa Lawan (Jigawa)-Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs and

Senator Joel Danlami Ikenya (Taraba)-Minister of Labour and Productivity.

Others are Mr Benjamin Osita Chidoka (Aviation); ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau (Minister of Education); Steve Oru (Minister for the Niger Delta); Prince Clement Adeyeye (Minister of State for Works); and Abdul Bulama (Minister of Science and Technology) and Dr. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman(National Planning).

A source said: “The affected ex-ministers have been notified that they are not entitled to severance package in whatever form.

“They have not met the official requirements for severance package and they won’t get it.

“I think those affected should be up to 20. So far, more than half of those in Jonathan’s cabinet will not get severance package.

“If they had been paid in error, we would have asked them to refund the severance allowance.”

Sources also said yesterday that some of the new 36 ministers inherited decrepit portfolios.

The situation varies from ministry to ministry.

In some ministries,ministers met  no official vehicles, while in others, the treasuries were practically empty with no imprest to meet basic needs.

It was gathered that many of the  ministers  are finding it difficult to operate because their predecessors stripped the ministries of basic tools to work with.

Investigation revealed that some ministers have no official vehicles because their predecessors sold same to themselves in line with what they called “monetization” policy.

Others appropriated government vehicles since their severance package was not paid.

A highly-placed source said: “There is a case of a female minister who is using her personal SUV as official vehicle. Also, she has provided the pilot vehicles too in her convoy.

“Another minister went to the National Assembly to clarify some issues and what was left as official vehicle in bad shape broke down.

“We have the case of another minister who went away with 10 vehicles of his ministry and parastatals. The ministry had to write him to return some of the vehicles when the minister was adamant.

“There is no minister without one story or the other to tell. All of them have no imprest to meet basic needs in their ministries. Most ex-ministers left nothing in the treasuries.”

The spokesman for  the Jonathan cabinet, ex-Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman, said: “To the best of my knowledge, most ministers returned their official vehicles. The necessary handover procedures were fully complied with.

“If there is any issue in a ministry, you can bring it up and we will crosscheck the facts for you.

“It is also true that some of the former ministers will not get severance package because they did not stay in office for two years.

“And as for those entitled to severance package, not all of them have been paid. This is to show you that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan did not abuse the privilege of office. Unlike previous  administrations, Jonathan did not give his ministers any exit bonanza or package.”

Source: The Nation

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