This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, July 29, 2013
PRESS RELEASE: NO TO LIFE PENSION FOR NIGERIAN LEADERS
30th July, 2013
NO TO LIFE PENSION FOR PUBLIC OFFICE HOLDERS
The National Assembly recently approved the proposal to put the President of Senate and his deputy, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy as well as all past presidents and speakers on life pension. The beneficiaries of this largesse allegedly include the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his vice as well as all past holders of those two exalted offices.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) reject this proposal. It is horrendous, preposterous and gluttonous.Coming at a time when the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Okonjo Iweala, is warning that the Federal Government may no longer be able to pay salaries as from October 2013, the approval by the honourable members in the Upper and Lower Houses is, to say the least, callous, self-serving and insensitive. Nigerian leaders tend to have a penchant for waste.
With more than 80% of the Nigerian population living below poverty level, with the average Nigerian living on less than $1 per day and Nigeria's per capita income less than $300, how on earth can anyone justify the arrogation of such stupendous luxury to so few? The scenario in this country is getting inextricably deeper into the abyss of capitalist bourgeoisie mentality. This development in the National Assembly further cements the hypothesis that 1% of the Nigerian population is consuming 85% of the wealth of this nation leaving just 15% for the vast majority of 99% of the population.It is a clear demonstration of man's inhumanity to man. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.
How can the National Assembly do this when it refuses to approve a token sum of N20,000.00 as monthly relief package for unemployed graduates? How can the NASS do this when N18,000.00 minimum wage has not been approved or paid to most workers in the country? The yearly budgetary allocation to education has always been between 3% and 13%, falling criminally short of the 20% recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Consequently the quality of education continues on a downward slide. That is whylecturers are on strikeyet the Federal Government is dillydallying on an agreement it freely entered into with ASUU four years back. How can we trust a government that reneges on its pledges, a government to whom 16 is higher than 19 and 5 superior to 22?Worst still, how can we now trust any pledge in the 2015-related manifesto?
MURIC wants the Federal Government to react to rumours making the rounds about our earnings from oil. Is it true that Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil per day? Is it true that we make $244 million daily after selling each barrel at $93.61? Is it also true that Nigeria is expecting about $81 billion as total earnings from oil alone this year 2013?
How much is $81 billion if we convert it to Nigeria's currency? If the answer is N12.8 trillion why do we still have problems in this country when the total budget for this year 2013 is just N4.9 trillion? Shouldn't we be having excess funds? Where is the rest? Government owes us an explanation.
Why is Nigeria the 20th poorest country in spite of the abundance of natural resources? Why are we the 26th hungriest nation in the world? Why can't we enjoy constant power? Why are our hospitals at best glorified clinics and our roads playgrounds frequented only by suicide drivers?
MURIC warns the NASS to be wary of popular anger. We charge the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to mobilize the Nigerian work force for a total strike should NASS fail to drop this idea of life pension for public officers. The time has come for the jamaheer (the masses) to take their destiny in their hands.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), 0818-211-9714