BusinessDay

Reps move to remove police from contributory pension scheme

...as police retirees protest at NASS

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill for an act to, again, amend the Pension Reform Act 2014 to exempt the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

The legislative action coincided with a protest by retired police officers across the country who besieged the entrance to the National Assembly to demand their exclusion from contributory pension like their counterparts from the military and other security agencies.

The protesting police pensioners said since the introduction of the CPS in 2004, the scheme has short-changed them, lamenting that they have been used and dumped by the Federal Government after putting in 35 years of service.

The retirees complained that they have only been getting a quarter or less of what they are supposed to get under the contributory pension scheme and this is affecting their lives and families negatively. They described it as “killer scheme, a death sentence against police retirees”.

Speaking on behalf of the senior citizens, chairman of Police Contributory Pension Scheme in Cross River State, Christopher Effiong, called on the National Assembly to do everything to exit them from the scheme.

“It is a menace. It is an obnoxious policy that has sent a lot of retired police officer, who have served this nation meritoriously to their early grave.

“Most of us joined this force under defined benefit scheme when there was an agreement that upon retirement, they will pay us pension and gratuity. At the end of the day, we discovered that the Federal Government introduced a policy and played us into deceit that it would be better for us.

“Today we have discovered that PENCOM is a fraud. At the end of the day instead of paying us our gratuity which is about 300 percent, what they are giving us is peanuts called lump sum. At the end of the day they are supposed to pay us 80 percent of our last months’ salary”, he said.

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Amid the protest, the House passed for second reading, the bill seeking to amend the Section 5, sub-section 1 paragraph (a) Pension Reform Act of 2014, to include the Nigeria Police Force as part of the categories exempted from the CPS such as members of the armed forces, the intelligence and secret services of the federation.

Sponsor of the bill, Francis Waive from Delta State who said the legislative action and the protest were mere coincidence, said the Nigeria Police was brought under the current pension scheme by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

While leading debate on the bill, Waive said the then government, which modelled the country’s contributory pension scheme after the Chilean scheme (Chile Pension Scheme) that exempted both the armed forces and the police from the scheme, unfortunately in adopting the same model brought the police under the scheme while exempting the military and other intelligence agencies.

He said the Nigeria Police Pensions Limited emanated from a presidential approval that was aimed at enhancing the welfare of serving and retired police officers. Consequent on the approval, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) was in 2012 directed to guide the police towards the establishment of a Nigeria police pension fund administrator, in order to remain within the scheme and to address all other areas of concern on welfare and pension matters. Unfortunately, operating under the current pension scheme has been both unpalatable and regrettable for the retirees of the Nigeria Police Force,” he said.

He added that operatives of the police being the frontline security agency in the country were exposed to danger than other security agencies and as such deserve better treatment during and after service. On account of the above among others, the police, he argued should be exempted from the current pension scheme like their counterparts in the military and the intelligence agencies.

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable colleagues, upon retirement, the take-home pay of a retired Police DSP is just N31,6OO while that of a captain and equivalent in the army is N180,000. While for a police inspector is N15,000, a warrant officer, the army equivalent to of police inspector, takes home N120,000 upon retirement, the lawmaker revealed.

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