Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, has rejected a Toyota SUV worth N29m which was given to him as a gift by Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi.
Mr. Ogbonnaya in a letter written to the governor cited the constitution saying he rejected the gift because the laws of the state excluded him from persons eligible to collect such gifts.
He however said that he wont be able to receive his pension as ex Governor of Abia state again if he accepts his gift.
He wrote in his letter thus: “It is important that I draw your attention to provision of Section 124(5) of the 1999 constitution as amended which states that:
“Provisions may be made a law of a House of Assembly for the provision of person to or in respect of a person who has held the office of a governor or deputy governor and was not removed from office as a result of impeachment and any pension granted by virtue of any provision made in pursuance of the subsection shall be a charge upon the consolidated revenue fund of the state.”
He added that, “Instructively, a law enacted by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly titled: Ebonyi State Special Offices Pensions and Related Matters Law 2007, section 3 defined a Governor as a ‘Civilian Governor of or from Ebonyi State of Nigeria’”.
“Rather curiously, four years later, the same House of Assembly enacted a law, Ebonyi State Special Offices Pensions and Related Matters Law (amendment) law 2011 wherein a governor was defines as ‘a civilian Governor of Ebonyi State of Nigeria.”
Mr. Onu said it was clear from the beginning, that it was a plan for him do be denied of his pension entitlement.
“This is especially so in the circumstance where it is the duty of the state government to do so as a responsibility of the sharing of assets between Ebonyi and Abia states. You will recall that I was the first elected Governor of Abia state, in which a part later became a constituent part of Ebonyi State.”
He however enjoined the governor to take steps to correct the injustice done to him in the interest of fairness, justice and respect for the constitution of the country.
“Laws are not made to suit personal prejudices. Laws are made to serve enduring attributes of good conscience honour and equity,” he affirms.