Retired Nigerian Police Officers Protest At National Assembly Over Unpaid Pensions, Write SOS Letter To Senate President

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Retired Nigerian police officers from across the country on Tuesday picketed the gate of the National Assembly in Abuja as they protested against several months of nonpayment of their pensions by the Pension Commission (PENCOM).

The retired police officers under the Contributory Pension Scheme who came from different state chapters, lamented the untold hardship they had been subjected to by PENCOM’s failure to pay their pensions and gratuities.

The aggrieved retired police officers who are asking the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government to remove them from the contributory pension scheme, also wrote a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter to the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, calling for an urgent intervention.

The police retirees made the call in the letter dated May 21, 2024 and titled “Appeal for Harmonisation and Transmission of Bills to Exit Police from Contributory Pension Scheme and Establishment of Police Pension Board.” 

In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, the retirees lamented that for over a decade, they had painstakingly, lawfully and peacefully been agitating to be given the rightful placement in the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS), the premises under which most of them enlisted in the Nigeria Police Force which guarantees the payment of pension and gratuity to an officer upon retirement. 

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We believe that our peaceful and legal approach to this agitation would not be taken for granted by you.

“We must also appreciate both the members of the Upper and the Lower Chambers who have also painstakingly taken the matter through several sessions of legislative actions spanning over investigative hearings, public hearings and passage of Police Exit Bill from CPS and Police Pension Board Bill in our favour, privately initiated bills by Sen. Elisha Abbo and Hon. Francis Waive of the Senate and House of Representative respectively, in the 9th NASS.

“Sir, permit us to intimate our dear Senate President that the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Police Pension Board to handle Pension matters for personnel of the Force and for connected purposes was passed by the 9th Assembly Senate on Tuesday 5th June, 2023,” part of the letter read.

They continued by saying, “Whereas the sister Bill to exempt the Police Force from the application of the Contributory Pensions Scheme under the CPS 2014 and for related matters which public hearing was conducted since 22/02/22 by the House Committee on Pensions of the 9th Assembly, came up in the floor of the 10th Assembly on 23rd November, 2023 for harmonization process but is still pending till date.

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“The speedy harmonization and transmission of these bills to the President for assent become absolutely necessary due to very obvious reasons. A few of such reasons is the rate at which Retired Police.Officers under CPS die because of hardship caused by the present economic situation in Nigeria.”

They listed what they described as a representation of “what the slave masters pay to Retired Police Officers under the CPS after 35 years of meritorious service to our father land can attest to the extent of hardship we are exposed to on retirement.”

“Sir, besides the meagre lump sum and monthly pension as tabulated above, officers who enrolled with PenCom with ranks other than new (higher) ranks at retirement had their entitlements based on the old rank.”

According to them, “The promotion differentials remain embezzled by PenCom despite being notified. The Head of Database in PenCom is responsible for this criminal anomaly. 

“The cheating is on every side.In a country where the minimum wage is N35,000, a senior Police Officer is paid N15,000 monthly after 35 years of service to his fatherland. 

How he survives is of no interest to anybody. Yet the slave masters are enjoying turn-overs from the investments with Police Retirees terminal benefits.”

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They lamented that they are dying, while it has only been promises upon promises, saying that the protest was also to confirm if there is a conspiracy by the Nigerian government against them.

Addressing the protesters, the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Yunus Akintunde, said that the bills the protesters referred to is no longer in existence because it was never assented to.

He said, “You are our fathers, you are our friends. We can’t be playing with your lives and future. As of this morning, we had a joint meeting with the IGP, DIG and others. The issue of pension has to do with figures.”

Senator Akintunde said that the Senate Committee had scheduled a joint meeting with all the necessary authorities on Tuesday (today) morning to deliberate proffer solutions to the retired police officers’ pension issue. 

He asked the protesters to create a committee that will join in the joint meeting to create a link between the national assembly and the retirees so they would be abreast of the actions being taken to resolve the issue. 

“You are not asking for a favour, you are asking for your rights,” Senator Akintunde said.

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