Benue Assembly Passes Ortom’s Pension Bill for Ex-Governors

Ortom addressing leaders of Muslim community at the meeting.

By National Record Reporters

THE Benue State House of Assembly on Thursday passed into law an executive bill granting former governors of the state and their deputies huge pension benefits and other provisions for their maintenance for life.

The bill, which was passed in the committee of the whole after clause-by-clause consideration, makes provision for a monthly pension for former elected governors and their deputies equivalent to the basic salary of a serving governor and serving deputy governor along with a maintenance allowance of N25 million for former governors, N15 million for deputies as well as brand new two SUV cars for each of the former governors and one for each of the deputy governor.

The bill, when (or if) signed by Governor Ortom before his exit on Monday, May 29, 2023, also made provision for six personal staff for each of the former governors and three for each of their deputies.

The former governors and deputies are also to enjoy medical expenses yearly while their vehicles will be replaced after every four years.

It was however noted that a key provision in the original bill submitted by the executive was dropped before the bill passed. The key provision was the request for the construction of a residential accommodation in any town of choice by each of the former governors and their deputies.

Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Appointment, Public Service and Pension Matters, Hon Geoffrey Agbatse, presented findings of the committee to the House while Clerk of the House, Mr Bernard Nule, read the bill for the third time and it was passed into law.

Hon Agbatse however did not say state how the committee’s findings were derived as there were no public hearings either in Makurdi or anywhere in the state following the proposal of the executive bill which was first read on the floor of the state assembly on April 11, 2023.

It is believed that if public hearings were held by the Assembly, Benue people would have rejected the bill because they were highly against it and even prevailed on their representatives to resist it with vehemence.

National Record gathered that the passage of the bill followed intense pressure from Government House as many of the lawmakers were not willing to play ball unless the executive fulfils a pre-arranged agreement it entered into with the legislature.

According to reliable sources in the House of Assembly conversant with the understanding between the two arms of government on the bill, the governor had to ensure that the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba, presided at Thursday’s session as against the deputy speaker, Hon Christopher Adaji, who had not only presided at most sittings since Uba’s ailment but also represented the Speaker at all public functions, especially after the general election.

An unimpeachable source at the state assembly told National Record that Adaji had declined to preside over the passage of bill hence Uba had to be drafted to the needful.

According to the source, even on Wednesday this week when Ortom assented to six bills at Government House, it was the deputy speaker who presented copies of the bills to Governor Ortom.

Uba, who was singlehandedly handpicked by Governor Ortom as the PDP governorship candidate in the general election, was at Thursday’s sitting visibly unwell, confirming the speculation that he had been prevailed upon to preside so as to ensure the passage of the bill.

A staff of Government House, Makurdi had confided in National Record on Thursday before the passage of the bill that the lawmakers were under tremendous pressure from Government House to hastily pass the bill before handover next week even as the legislators were insisting that the governor should fulfil the promise he made to them as a precondition to doing his bidding.

The source who pleaded anonymity for fear of retribution reasoned that it was as a result of the governor’s alleged pressure on the assembly members on Wednesday that they speedily passed the bill on Thursday without a public hearing.


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