Some experts have called on the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the raging issue of poor pension benefits being paid to some retirees of the Nigeria Police.
The experts made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the backdrop of recent demonstrations across the country by some police retirees.
NAN reports that the retirees, who are under the contributory pension scheme being managed by NPF Pensions Limited, alleged that they were shortchanged as they were paid as low as N2 million lump sum on retirement.
Oku Nana, the Chairman of Retired Police Officers Association (Under the Contributory Pension Scheme) in Lagos, said that some retired middle cadre officers in the police were paid as low as N3.5 million lump sum instead of N10 million paid to their mates in other agencies.
He said this was in gross violation of the provisions of the Pension Act of 2004.
The experts told NAN that the problem might be due to low savings in the officers’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).
They alleged that their employer (The Nigeria Police) might not have made the mandatory counterpart contributions to their RSAs as required by law.
Mr Mufutau Oyegunle, an insurance and pension analyst in Lagos, said that the issue of unfounded account that the police retirees faced was not uncommon.
“It is not that the pension monies were not deducted from the retirees, but just that the monies were not remitted.
“So, zero account means zero returns on investment which affects gratuity,” he said.
Oyegunle said this could be one of the numerous challenges which the NPFPL inherited and was trying to correct.
“It is unjust for an officer who served meritoriously for 35 years to be paid N2 million gratuity upon retirement,” he said.
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Dr Edgar Sunday, the Head of Service in Adamawa State, called for proper documentation of pension remittances.
“For example, how much was remitted, the year the money was remitted , the years the remittances covered and beneficiaries.
“We should know that fears of retirement is what is pushing some civil servants that are still in service into corruption,” he said.
Sunday advised President Mohammed Buhari to ensure that pension administrators at the national, state and local government levels manage pension funds in a manner that workers would look forward to retirement without apprehension.
“President Buhari must ensure that pension money diverted are recovered and forwarded to those retirees languishing,” he said.
Mr Leye Awoniyi, an insurance expert in Lagos, advised the Federal Government to devise a way of appropriately compensating the affected police retirees, saying that a labourer deserved his or her wage.
“It is not the fault of these retired police officers, but the system that has allowed this to happen. That a man worked for 35 years and he is not being paid his dues is unfair. The Federal Government must intervene and pay these officers appropriately,” he said.
Mr Otunba Arasi, the Acting Chairman of Federal Civil Service Pensioners in Lagos State, said “we don’t know who is fooling who.’’
“When we go to PTAD, they will tell us the Federal Government has not released money, while the Federal Government said they have released the money.
“We appeal to well mean Nigerians that whoever has President Buhari’s number to please give us,” he said.
Mr Femi Olaosebikan, a serving police officer in Lagos, expressed fears that this situation would not affect him.
“Is it a crime to be a policeman in Nigeria? How can government stop corruption among us when we are not sure of our pension?”