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Ex-police officers laud Buhari, NPF Pensions over improved welfare

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Nigeria Police. Photo: TWITTER/GOVWIKE

Improved welfare and pension now enjoyed by retired police officers has galvanised them to applaud President Muhammadu Buhari and Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba.

They also commended the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Pensions Limited and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) for making valiant efforts to improve the welfare of serving and retired police personnel.

The applause came when NPF Pensions officials, led by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hamza Sule Wuro Bokki, met with more than 2,000 retired police officers in Lagos recently.

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Bokki disclosed that the meeting was at the behest of the IGP, adding that the goal was to acquaint retired police officers with developments in the pension scheme and steps taken by Abuja to improve their welfare.

He informed the jubilant retirees that in line with Buhari’s approval to pay all outstanding entitlements to all verified and enrolled retirees, PenCom has so far remitted funds to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to pay them for May to November 2020.

Bokki said the benefits for December 2020 to date would be remitted soon, adding that by that all retired officers would be paid.

He added that the benefits for Death Benefits Batches 90 and 91 had also been released and advised the next of kin of deceased officers and other beneficiaries to commence the paperwork to collect the benefits.

Buhari recently approved PenCom’s submission on the payment of outstanding accrued rights for verified and enrolled retirees of treasury-funded MDAs as well as the backlog of death benefit claims.

He also approved the payment of 2.5 per cent differential in the rate of employer pension contribution for Federal Government retirees and employees which resulted from the increase in minimum pension contribution for employers from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent in line with Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.

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Bokki explained that the settlement of the outstanding accrued pension rights of verified and enrolled retired officers and compliance with the reviewed rate of pension contributions were significant developments that have resolved the challenges that had lingered for nine years.

He equally explained that the PFA was working flat out to ensure that every policeman that served Nigeria should get a commensurate pension that is not less than what any of their colleagues or peers in other public service sectors get.

The thinking of the organisation is that if retiring policemen were brought at par with other Nigerian senior citizens, they would have a sense of belonging and feel recognised.

To ensure this happens, it has recommended that the AIG rank and above be treated like their peers and go with their full salaries after retirement and 300 per cent gratuity. Request for that is already at the Presidency.

A retired Police Commissioner, now Chairman of the Lagos branch of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), Aniefiok Udo Essiet, commended NPF Pensions for efficiently managing pension assets.

Owoseni Fatai, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, who was once Principal Staff Officer to former IGP M.D. Abubakar, recounted the creation of NPF Pensions.

He praised Bokki for effectively leading the body to grow pension assets with huge profit, which ensures that retirees have better value for their contributions.

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Owoseni also saluted the PFA for utilising part of their profit as a welfare package – Retirement Resettlement Support Scheme (RRSS) – for retirees before retirement benefits are paid.

RRSS, which started with N400 million when the NPF Pensions Board approved it in 2017, has grown to N500 million.

Owoseni said it was a unique corporate social responsibility (CSR).

However, Christopher Ade Atere, a retired Police Commissioner, lamented that many police officers did not know their rights hence they could not follow their money.

He said NPF Pensions was the best thing to happen to the police and lauded Bokki for his untiring efforts.

“NPF Pensions Limited is our own and because of the transparency and sincerity of the managing director, every retired policeman can hold his head high. He is so committed to the welfare of the police,” Atere stressed.

On RRSS, he said: “If you are not in NPF Pensions, you are not qualified for the resettlement scheme, you are not covered for the resettlement scheme. So, it is in your own interest as a policeman that you are in the NPF Pensions family. Bokki and his management team are doing wonderful things. We have to support them.”

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