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Pensioners kick as FG moves against exiting police from contributory scheme

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
22 August 2022   |   2:39 am
Police pensioners have been kicked against the move by the Federal Government to stop the exemption of the force from Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) established by the Pension Reform Act, 2004.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba. Photo/FACEBOOKTHENIGERIAPOLICE

Police pensioners have been kicked against the move by the Federal Government to stop the exemption of the force from Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) established by the Pension Reform Act, 2004.

They noted that a fresh memo from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, was at variance with current moves by the National Assembly to pass a bill aimed at allowing the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to administer own pension scheme like the military.

The retirees argued that frustrating the process would worsen the morale of serving officers, escalate insecurity and even aggravate the suffering of those out of service.

In the correspondence dated July 21, 2022, and sighted at the weekend in Calabar, Cross River State, the SGF instructed the police boss to maintain the status quo.

It reads: “I write to acknowledge the persistence by NPF to be exempted from the CPS, under the Pension Reform Act, 2004 and the several reasons canvassed to support this request.

“While not being oblivious to the various concerns raised, I refer to the previous position of the then President, conveyed in SGF’s letter, Ref 59149/5.1/C/11/255 dated 20th July 2012, for NPF to continue to be covered under the CPS, and to further inform you that the directive has not changed.”

This, Mustapha said, “is in consonance with the White Paper on Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies when the government approved the recommendation that only the military be allowed to opt-out of the CPS.”

The then SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, had in 2012 written the IGP, stating: “Mr. President has approved that the personnel of NPF should continue to be covered under the CPS established by the Pension Reform Act 2004. However, it is noteworthy that provision is also being made for the police to administer its own pension.”

But the fresh memo by Mustapha is being interpreted as a deliberate effort to frustrate the process by the federal lawmakers to get a bill for a separate pension scheme for the police, sources in the Cross River Pension Retirees said.

They claimed: “The bill, sponsored by Hon. Francis Waive to exit NPF from the contributory scheme has scaled through the committee stage and is awaiting third reading in the House of Representatives.

“The bill, also sponsored by Senator Elisha Abor, has scaled through first and second readings and the committee is expected to invite memos at the public hearing and if the current action by the Federal Government stands, it will impact negatively on the police and the retired police officers who had expected rewarding retirement after serving their country for 35 years.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of Cross River State chapter of Police Retirees under the CPS and National Coordinator, Christopher Effiong, said: “I am not aware of any letter from the office of the SGF trying to frustrate our efforts at the National Assembly. If there is such a letter, it is rather very unfortunate, and we will react accordingly.

“We however request the National Assembly, which owes it a constitutional duty to make new laws and amend the obnoxious ones, to go ahead and deal with the bills to exit NPF from the (contributory) pension scheme and (consider) the bill to establish Police Pension Board.”

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