Retired police officers, under the auspices of Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON) have called on the federal government to intervene in the payment of their pension arrears and gratuities.
The retirees who staged a peaceful protest in Ikeja, Lagos State, last week, called on relevant stakeholders to come to their aid. They demanded for their unpaid pensions and gratuities starting from the time they joined the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) till 2004 when the new pension scheme became effective.
While complaining that they were being paid peanuts as monthly pension under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), they threatened to pull out of the new pension scheme.
Vice chairman, ARPON, DSP Anyamuka Ignatius (Rtd), stated that the unpaid pension has deprived their children of quality education and healthcare while they struggle to meet their financial obligations despite the fact that they have lots of money in pension that were yet to be paid.
Some pensioners, he said, were being owed from 2015, calling on the federal government to come to the rescue of the retired police officers, as some of its members have died without getting the pension they worked for, while in active service.
The public relations officer of the association, retired deputy superintendent of Police, Mr Patrick Eteng, disclosed that the reason the association resorted to public outcry was as a result of failed attempts to draw government attention to their plight.
To him, “All efforts in writing and calls to the authorities concerned failed to yield results. We are suffering. We have bills to pay. We therefore use this public opportunity, once again, to remind government of their obligations to us who served the government of Nigeria meritoriously.”
On his part, the provost, retired DSP Lucky Onoiribhobo, stated that, while in service, some monies were always deducted on a monthly basis from their salaries for housing, healthcare. “Now, we have retired. Where is the money? This is a matter the government cannot ignore. We need urgent attention. We are calling on the National Assembly to help us look into this,” he pleaded.
While requesting for their pension arrears under the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) paid, they also complained of disparity in the payment of monthly pension under CPS, even as they were unhappy with the stipend they get as monthly pension under the new scheme.
They disclosed that they have written letters to the National Assembly, federal government, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the Pension Transitional and Administrative Directorate (PTAD) but no response from any of them.
When contacted for his response, the head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr Peter Aghahowa, attributed their complaints to low awareness on the working of the contributory pension scheme.
He said the computation of the monthly pension entitlement is based on several factors, such as; age, sex, monthly salary, and so on, that may lead to disparity in the monthly pension allowance.
He added that the commission is appropriately advising the federal government to offset its accrued rights under CPS, even as government is trying all its best to ensure that those that have served the country in their active years are adequately catered for at retirement.
Similarly, a source in PTAD said, the directorate has done verification of the retired police officers and has appropriately submitted their details to the office of the accountant general of the federation which is responsible for effecting payment through the escrow account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the retired police officers and other retires under the DBS.
The source said PTAD has done a lot to verify those under the old scheme, imbibed transparency and corporate governance in the discharge of its mandate, promising that the agency will not relent in its efforts to ensure that pensioners get what is due to them.