Andy Essiet, Calabar
Efforts by the police to be exempted from the contributory pension scheme has suffered a set back as the federal government has issued a letter to the Inspector General of Police to stay action .
This letter is seen as an affront to current process by the National Assembly to pass a bill on the matter and at the same time kill completely the current low moral of serving police men and even aggravate the suffering of the police retirees.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha had in a letter dated July 21, 2022 to the Inspector General of Police and leaked to some newsmen in Calabar said, “I write to acknowledge the persistent by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to be exempted from the contributory Pension Scheme, under the Pension Reform Act, 2014, and the several reasons canvased to support this request”.
Thus in an effort to frustrate the NPF from getting a separate scheme, the SGF said, “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 the Nigerian Police Force to continue to be covered under the contributory Pension Scheme and to further inform you that the directive has not change”.
This he said, “is in consonance with the federal government white paper on the report of the presidential committee on restricting and rationalization of federal government parastatals, commissions and agencies when the federal government approved the recommendation that the only military be allowed to opt out of the Contributory Pension Scheme”.
The federal government had in 2012 in a similar letter through the then SGF Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim to the IGP said, “Mr. President has approve that the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force should continue to be covered under the contributory Pension Scheme 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”.
The letter by current SGF is seen as a deliberate effort to frustrate the process by the National Assembly to get a bill for a separate pension scheme for the police as sources in the Cross River Pension Retirees said “the bill sponsored by Hon. Francis Waive to exit N.P.F from contribution scheme has scaled through committee stage and awaiting third reading in the House of Representatives”.
In the senate, the former sources said, “the bill also sponsored by Senator Elisha Abor has scaled through 1st and 2nd reading and the committee is expected to invite memo at public hearing and if the current action by the federal government impacts negatively on retired police officers who had expected rewarding retirement after servicing their country for 35 years.
“It kills the moral of serving members who had looked up to this exist as a moral booster and hope after serving. Certainly it will further affect the already insecure situation of the country”.
Commenting, “the Chairman Cross River State Chapter of Police Retirees under the contributory Pensions Scheme and the National Coordinator, Mr. Christopher Effiong said, “I am not aware of any letter from the office of the SGF trying to frustrate our efforts in the National Assembly. If there is such 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 made in error, to go ahead and deal with the bills to exit NPF from the Pension Scheme and the bill to establish Police Pension Board”.