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Governor Alex Otti of Abia on Thursday signed the Abia State of Nigeria Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Repeal Bill of 2024 into law.

In a speech after assenting to the law in Nvosi, Mr Otti described the new law as part of the efforts made to promote good governance and stewardship in Abia.

The governor said that he strongly believed that leadership was all about stewardship and should not be viewed as an opportunity to embezzle public funds.

He thanked the Abia House of Assembly for expeditiously dealing with the bill and commended them for the cordial relationship between the legislative and executive arms of government.

Mr Otti said that the cordial relationship between both arms of government had been built on trust and understanding that the separate arms of government were working together for the people.

He assured the legislature of maximum support from the executive.

Mr Otti described the new law regarding revoking pension payments to former officeholders as a step in the right direction.

He said that “government is not about self-interest, it is actually self-interest that destroys government.”

Mr Otti said that prioritising public welfare over individual benefits ought to be given key consideration in policy-making.

He said that he was aware that he would have benefitted if the law continued to exist and added that it was best to use the funds to improve the lives of citizens.

Mr Otti also said that the pensioners were the people who needed the funds the most and not former office holders.

He expressed displeasure over the practice of allocating 80 per cent of the state’s budget to recurrent expenditure and 20 per cent to capital expenditure by past administrations.

He said that the changed policy was part of the efforts made by the present administration to reduce the cost of governance.

Mr Otti said: “I have seen engagements where people said that they have not been collecting.

“It is true because they have not been paid, and we don’t believe that those payments should be made.

“One of the people that should be paid wrote me about not being paid; I put a call across to him and explained why it should not be paid and he agreed with me.

“I told him we have not paid anyone and he said that he wants to confirm that he was not being singled out.

“The point I am trying to make is that even the people that should receive it believe that repealing the law is the best.”

.The Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, Emmanuel Emereuwa, said that the bill when signed into law would revoke Abia State Governors’ and Deputy Governors’ Law no 4 of 2001.

Mr Emeruwa, represented by his deputy, Austin Meregini, said that he had come to present the bill to the governor for his assent.

In a remark, the Attorney General of the state, Ikechukwu Uwanna, said that the governor had taken a bold and audacious step by assenting to the bill.

Mr Uwanna said that he believed that it was in line with the will of the people and thanked the House of Assembly for working in tandem with the executive to transform the state.

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