The Federal Government plans to spend N2.3 billion on the upkeep of former Presidents, Heads of States, Vice Presidents and Chiefs of General Staff.
The 2020 Appropriation Bill, which President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly last week, indicated that N2.3bn would be expended on the ex-leaders’ entitlements. If approved, this would bring the total budgetary allocations for the welfare of the former leaders to N22.2bn in 16 years.
The Federal Government in 2005 started budgeting for their welfare. The Remuneration of former Presidents, heads of Federal legislative Houses and Chief Justices of the Federation (and other Ancillary Matters) Act mandates the government to make yearly provision for former leaders’ pensions, medicare, annual foreign vacation, offices and general maintenance. The former leaders, who served as either Head of State or President, are General Yakubu Gowon, late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Goodluck Jonathan. The former vice presidents and Chiefs of General Staff are late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, General Oladipupo Diya, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Alhaji Namadi Sambo. Families of deceased ex-presidents are also to benefit from the annual welfare package. The Presidency has also budgeted N292,771,314 to provide refreshments and meals for the State House and other offices and agencies under it in 2020. Figures from the 2020 proposed Appropriation Bill show that the State House headquarters intended to spend N135,668,651 for refreshment and its Lagos liaison office budgeted N2,020,236 for the same purpose. While the office of the president will get N25,652,502 for refreshments, the office of the Vice President and that of the Chief of Staff got N18,264,397 and N4,517,445 respectively. Also, the office of the Chief Security Officer to the President got N4,150,970 while that of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President got N3,100,000 and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on MDGs got N12,024,000. Of the agencies under the presidency, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit got the highest share with N34,449,761 with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following with N27,218,889. Other agencies under the presidency with budget proposal for refreshments are: Bureau of Public Procurement with N12,700,000; Bureau of Public Enterprises with N9,504,463 and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative with N3,500,000. The president will spend N98,306,482 on foodstuffs and catering materials while the Vice President will spend N50,888,218.