By Naomi Sharang
Stakeholders in Abuja, on Friday, disagreed over the proposed establishment of Police Pension Board.
The stakeholders’ position was made known during a public hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, and chaired by Sen. Haliru Jika.
The bills are “Police Pension Board (Establishment) Bill, 2022, and the “Nigeria Special Forces (Establishment) Bill, 2022.
In his submission, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Baba, said that the police require a distinct board on its own for management and administration of pensions of retired police personnel in the mode of the Military Pension Board.
Baba was represented by Deputy Inspector-General Sanusi Lemu.
He said: “The Police as clearly stated by the title of the bill “Police Pension Board Establishment Bill 2022”, deserves to have a separate body for management and administration of pensions of its retirees.
“Exiting the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), being run and managed by Pension Commission (PenCom), is long overdue for the police on account of poor services being subjected to.
“The proposed board will boost the morale of police personnel to dispassionately discharge their duties of fighting crimes,” he said.
And kicking against the proposed board, Chief Executive Officer of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Mr Oguche Agudah, urged the committee not to legislate liabilities.
He said that since the proposed body would be solely funded by budgetary allocations, avoidable burden would be placed on the Federal Government currently battling with N10.7 trillion budget deficit in 2023 fiscal year.
“We cannot in good faith, legislate liabilities,” he said.
President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his presentation, called for prompt payment of gratuities of retired police personnel or those who died in active service.
He said that the proposed board was well envisioned but the problem is sustainability as regards funding, adding that “the mistake of moving from known to unknown should not be made.”
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Jika, said that the police deserved to be given the type of special treatment being enjoyed by the military with a special pension board.
He, however, assured the police that given the importance of the bill, the committee would before the expiration of the ninth assembly, pass the bill.
“I assure you that before the expiration of this assembly, we will pass and transmit the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.”
Meanwhile, the stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the proposed bill for the establishment of Nigeria Police Special Force Academy, sponsored by Sen. Mohammed Ndume (APC-Borno). (NAN)
Edited by Vincent Obi