Governor Seriake Dickson of  Bayelsa State has declined assent to the bill seeking life pension for former lawmakers from the state as proposed and passed by the state House of Assembly last week.

The controversial bill has attracted condemnation from Bayelsans, including civil society groups who were planning a showdown with the lawmakers.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who said this on Monday, added that the governor had conveyed his decision to decline assent to the bill in a letter to the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday.

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He said the governor held consultations with the Assembly members in Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for rejecting the bill to the lawmakers.

Longrich

Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor as having said that the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

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Dickson said he was of the view that the state Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pension.

He stressed that he had to withhold assent to the bill because the state, which was bedevilled with a lot of challenges in spite of its low Internally Generated Revenue base and unstable earnings from the oil economy, was the only state in Nigeria to come up with such a bill.

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The governor stressed that he was guided in the decision by the principle that government should not be for a select privileged few in the society.


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