By G9ija

Police Retirees under the Contributory Pensions Scheme on Tuesday embarked on another protest over the alleged lack of equity in the scheme.

The police retirees converged at the gates of the National Assembly to push home their earlier demand to be exited from the scheme.

The officers had in April taken their protest to the National Assembly when they made similar demands in a form of a petition which received the blessings of the Senate following which an investigative hearing of their petition was carried out.

They also accused the Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali and the management team of aiding and abetting the alleged fraudulent mismanagement of the fund which they claim is being diverted to private pockets.

The retirees said based on their findings, Baba Alkali and the management team have been footdragging in proposing a bill to the National Assembly to exempt the Police from the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Part of their text made available to journalists read: “It would surprise you to hear that till date, the IGP has refused to comply with the advice given, instead, he mandated the SIG, Sanusi Lemu to join the NPF Pension Ltd marketing team to go on marketing campings against the exit of the Police from Contributory Pension Scheme.

“DIG Sanusi’s action violates Section 4 of Police Act which highlights the constitutional duties of a Police Officer. As contrary as this was, another crafty aspect of the act was a hired crowd that was induced with N10,000.00 and souvenir each to gather and pose as retired Police Officers to enable them make a clip for a press release to the effect that our genuine agitation was political and not supported by the generality of Police Retirees.”

The angry ex-officers recalled that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan ordered an investigative hearing of their petition since June 2, under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, which outcome, the IGP was unwilling to abide by three months after.

The group said, regrettably, the Inspector General of Police rather directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Sanusi Lemu to join the NPF Pension Ltd marketing to embark on a false campaign, stating that exiting from the Contributory Pension Scheme was not in the interest of retires and serving Police Officers.

The retirees wondered how the IGP and his management team would allow their pecuniary interests, overwhelm the thousands of retirees, saying that it was the Police officers’ fund that was used to set up the capital base of NPF Pension Ltd.

The ex-officers expressed confidence that the National Assembly will intervene by amending the Act to do away with the flaws and those clauses that are inconsistent with the supreme law and further demanded that:

“The exemption clause in the Pension Reform Act should be expanded to include the Nigeria Police Force which is the leading agency in internal security in this country.

“All Police retirees who enlisted into the force before the birth of the CPS in 2004 should be exempted CPS and the 300% of their annual salary be paid to them as gratuity and 80% of their last monthly salary be paid to them as pension as specified under the defines benefits scheme under which condition they enlisted into the force.”

The chairman of the Cross Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Police Retirees Under Contributory Pension Scheme, Christopher Effiong who coordinated the protest on behalf of other chapters said, the IGP’s lukewarm attitude has justified their earlier findings that their pension was being fraudulently diverted into private pockets.

He alleged that they were being cheated by the pension managers and some serving senior Police officers, which the National Assembly has since directed the IGP to forward a bill.

“We are here to reiterate our former appeal to the National Assembly to exit us from the Contributory Pensions Scheme for which we were coerced.

“We want to exit, we don’t want it again. We would rather prefer to return to the defined benefit scheme controlled by the Nigeria police pension board where our pension and gratuity would be paid. We are pleading that they should exit us from the Contributory Pensions Scheme.

“As experts and professionals in different fields that we were trained, if we are utilized properly we are a major asset to Nigeria as a nation especially these days of insecurity and terrorism. “When such well-trained officers are treated with such disdain they can be highjacked to carry out some activities that would not be very good for the Government of this country.

“We have bomb experts, anti Bomb and terrorism experts, we have highly trained intelligence officers among us.

Government has to keep us somewhere to pacify us because in more civilised nations retired officers like us are kept as a reserved force. “Anytime you have challenges you fall back and get ideas from us to get things right but here in Nigeria after we have suffered they have abandoned us.

Offiong lamented that a Police Inspector who spent 35 years in service and retired would be paid a paltry sum of N785,284.40 and will be taking N22,000 as monthly pension, while an ASP retiree is currently paid N16,000 monthly, a situation he described as homicidal.

“Let them pay us debarment allowance, exit us from Contributory Pension Scheme. These are the two requests we are making that National Assembly should help us.”