The Kwara State Government has said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has returned all the pensions he collected so far as a former two-term governor of the state.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the claim emanated from the Kwara State Government, and he neither confirmed nor denied it.
The Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, in a statement on Wednesday said the attention of the state government had been drawn to issues surrounding the payment of pensions to former governors of the state, especially Saraki.
The statement read: “Dr Saraki, as a two-term Governor, is entitled to pension as stipulated by the third schedule, Paragraph D (i) of the Governor and Deputy Governor ((payment of pension) Law, No. 12 of 2010 of Kwara State.
“The said pension has been duly remitted to his account, like other former Governors’, since he left office but when via a letter dated 20th August 2015 addressed to the state government, Dr Saraki requested that the payment of pension to his account be stopped and the amount already credited to the account be refunded to the Government, the State Government promptly complied.
“The Government not only stopped the payment of the said pension, the amount already paid into Dr. Saraki’s account since he left office was deducted from the money owed to him as well as his other outstanding lawful entitlements.
“In view of the foregoing, it should be noted that neither the Kwara State Government nor Dr. Bukola Saraki violated the state pension law or any other law for that matter. The State Pension Law empowers the State Government to pay pension to former Governors of the State.
“The Kwara State Government will want to reiterate the fact that it was Dr Saraki who on his own volition considered the morality of the situation in which the pension would put him since he is still a serving Senator and chose to abandon his legal rights. We believe he should be commended for decision.
“It is the hope of the Kwara State Government that this clarification will end all the controversy about this issue.