Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, advocated an increase in the monthly retirement benefits of former presidents and vice presidents.
He made the call during his remarks at the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council at the State House, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Osinbajo, who spoke last after ministers took two-minute turns to talk, said to the President, “Your personal integrity is one that is known all over Nigeria and indeed all over the world. And I do not think anyone, including even your worst enemies, will not admit that you are an incredibly honest person.
“Part of the problem with that is that sometimes, you and I end up getting the very short end of the stick. If you look at the laws today, our retirement benefits, yours (Buhari) will be N350,000 a month by law and mine will be N250,000 per month. Those, of course, as you can imagine are very tiny amounts of money.
“And I think that one of the things that we must do is to, perhaps, see how we can amend that law so that I will not come to you in Daura and ask for some of your bulls to sell in order to survive.”
The severance packages for the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors and other political appointees leaving office in 2023 might cost the country about N63.45bn.
As stipulated by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission, the President will get a severance pay of N10.54m, which is 300 per cent of his annual basic salary, while Vice-President Osinbajo will receive N9.09m.
The eight special advisers in the Presidency are expected to get N5.83m each, totalling N46.64m.
Buhari’s cabinet consists of 44 ministers, 27 federal ministers and 17 ministers of state.
While each minister is entitled to N6.08m, each minister of state is entitled to N5.87m. In total, they would get N258.08m, with ministers getting N164.16m and ministers of states receiving N93.92m.
In an earlier interview, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ekiti State branch, Joel Akinola, said it was unfair for political office holders to receive huge severance allowances when states failed to pay pensions as and when due.
The NUP chairman argued that the beneficiaries enjoyed other office perks.
Similarly, the first lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, also called for increased benefits for ex-presidents and their deputies.
She added that former first ladies should also be incorporated as beneficiaries of such benefits.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the launch of a book, ‘The Journey of a Military Wife’, authored by the wife of the Chief of Defence Staff and President, Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association, Mrs Vickie Irabor, the president’s wife stated, “The Federal Government should consider us as people that need help not as magic makers. And on the privileges given to the former presidents of Nigeria, they should do more. It is still not enough considering what people go through in that house (Presidential Villa). And at the same time, I want them to incorporate women, the former first ladies, among the beneficiaries.”