Former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan, Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Shehu Shagari have not been paid their salaries and allowances since January this year, it was disclosed on Thursday. The revelation came as a shock to members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs who visited the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The SGF, Mr David Lawal Babachir attributed the failure to pay the former leaders their entitlement to the unavailability of funds in Service Wide Votes for salaries of former presidents. Babachir told the committee members: “There is a department responsible for payment of former Presidents. Presently funds are not available in Service Wide Votes to do that. We are aware that there was a protest in Bayelsa State that former President Goodluck Jonathan was not paid, but we have explained that he is not the only one affected.
“Others affected are the Inter-religious council, traditional rulers council and so on. For some reason, we have been writing and writing, but there has been no response. And there is presently no money to pay them. The budget for this year’s democracy day was N33 million and we had to do it on credit, we are yet to pay. There are lots of retreats which ought to be organised but there is no money to do any. The last time we got any release was in August.”
The Senator Tijjani Kaura (APC, Zamfara North)-led committee members frowned at the non-payment of the former presidents’ entitlements. They canvassed joint action between the Office of the SGF and the committee to find an immediate solution to the problem describing the development as “most unfortunate.”