Nigeria’s government stops salaries for ex-leaders

Nigeria’s government has failed to pay the country’s ex-leaders their monthly salaries and allowances since January because of a cash crisis, government secretary Babachir Lawal has said. 

He made the disclosure during a meeting with group of senators, raising questions about whether the government was in breach of the constitution which guarantees ex-leaders salaries for life, reports BBC Abuja bureau chief Naziru Mikailu.

There are six ex-leaders whose salaries have been cut, including that of 91-year-old Shehu Shagari, who was elected in 1979 and overthrown by the military in 1983 after winning elections. 

In an interview with Punch newspaper, Senator Aliyu Wamakko condemned the failure to pay Mr Shagari:

We can understand if former President Goodluck Jonathan has not been paid because he just left office. But for someone like Shagari, who lives from hand-to-mouth, it is something I can’t understand. This development is really unfortunate. It doesn’t indicate seriousness and it doesn’t indicate fairness.”

 

Naziru says that unlike Mr Shagari, other ex-leaders are wealthy so they are unlikely to feel the pinch. 

They include:

  • Olusegun Obasanjo – military ruler from 1976 to 1979 and elected president from 1999 to 2007

  • Ibrahim Babangida  – military ruler from 1985 to 1993

  • Ernest Shonekan – interim president in 1993

  • Abdulsalami Abubakar – military ruler from 1998 to 1999.

Current President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also a former military military, was elected to office last year after defeating Mr Jonathan – the first Nigerian leader to relinquish power without a fight.

Our reporter says it is likely that the salaries of vice-presidents have also been stopped.