In January 2022, Muhammadu Buhari said during an NTA interview he was tired of being Nigeria’s president

He said “I see my colleagues, they’re now resting, and I assure you I look forward to the next 17 months when I too will be less busy. The age is telling on me — working now for six, seven to eight hours per day in the office is no joke.”

Buhari may be complaining about all the hard work he has to do as president, but he can’t deny he’s looking forward to the benefits waiting for him after May 29, 2023.

If you have no idea what we’re talking about, allow us explain.

What law guides the perks ex-presidents enjoy?

That would be the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads Of State (and Other Ancillary Matters) Act of 2004. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) determines the benefits package for former presidents and former vice-presidents.

What are these benefits?

We know that’s what you’re really after, so here’s a list of the major perks former presidents and vice-presidents receive:

  1. ₦‎350,000 monthly allowance for ex-presidents and ₦‎250,000 monthly for ex-VPs. 
  1. The families of deceased former heads of state are entitled to ₦1 million per annum, paid ₦250,000 per quarter. The families of deceased ex-VPs get ₦750,000 per annum, paid ₦187,500 per quarter.
  1. Upkeep of the spouses and education of the children of deceased ex-presidents and deceased ex-VPs up to the university level.
  1. Three to four armed policemen for security.
  1. One State Security Service (SSS) officer not below grade level 10 as an aide-de-camp to be attached for life.
  1. Three vehicles for ex-presidents and two vehicles for ex-VPs, replaceable every four years. 
  1. Drivers.
  1. An officer not below the rank of a chief administrative officer and a personal secretary not below grade level 12.
  1. Diplomatic passport for life.
  1. Free medical treatment for ex-presidents and ex-VPs and their immediate family within Nigeria.
  1.  Treatment abroad for ex-presidents and ex-VPs and their immediate family where necessary.
  1.  30 days annual vacation in Nigeria or abroad.
  1.  A well-furnished and equipped office in any location of choice within Nigeria.
  1.  A well-furnished five-bedroom house in any location within Nigeria. An ex-VP gets a three-bedroom house.

Look at that list again and ask yourself why you aren’t running for president.

Oh, one other thing: the spouses of deceased leaders stop receiving their benefits if they remarry so it’s beyond till death do us part. 

When did ex-presidents start receiving a pension?

Former leaders enjoying these perks today have one man to thank: General Sani Abacha. It was during his administration Nigeria started thinking about providing pensions for living presidents and their families. Bad belle people would say Abacha was looking out for himself and the irony is he wasn’t around to enjoy it.

Is this practice normal?

Former leaders around the world like in the United States and the United Kingdom receive allowances and extra benefits after leaving office. But trust Nigeria to push things to the extreme.

In 2016, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, lamented that the government couldn’t pay the salaries of past presidents due to lack of funds. Between 2018 and 2021 alone, the perks that ex-presidents and ex-VPs received cost Nigerian taxpayers ₦9.2 billion. In October 2022, findings revealed ex-presidents, ex-VPs and other appointees would receive ₦63 billion in pension in 2023.

Clearly, the benefits package for former leaders needs to be revisited as the cost is becoming too unbearable for a country already burdened by debt. But knowing Nigerian leaders, don’t hold your breath on things changing anytime soon.



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