The Nigeria Police Retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme have asked the Federal Government to exempt them from the scheme just like their counterparts in military forces and the Department of State Security Services.
They are also demanding to be included in debarment allowances which their counterparts in the other security forces like the Army, Navy and the Airforce are enjoying.
The Police retirees led by their legal Adviser, Elder Ofem O. Nbang carried their protests to the National Assembly on wednesday with placards that carried inscriptions narrating their ordeal.
They came armed with written petitions addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Speaking on behalf of the retirees the legal adviser of the group Afem O Mbang DSP(rtd), said they have served the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years adding that when some of them had spent 21 years, 23 years or even 33 years in service the Contributory pensions Scheme was introduced.
He said, ”When they introduced the Contributory pensions Scheme in 2004 we were under the old Pensions scheme (benefit) the law was made to be retrogressive.
He said laws are not supposed to be made retrogressively.
“This is against the provision of Section 173(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) because it alters an existing pension scheme (benefit scheme) to the disadvantage of prospective retirees who have been in service long before the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004.”
“Laws are made to take effect from when they are made and thereafter but they made a law to take care of our retirement benefits while we were already twenty something years in service which has subjected us to suffering today.
“For instance I retired as Deputy Superintendent of Police after 35 years. I was paid what they called lump sum, retirement benefit of N1741, 000 and I am placed on N40,000 pension and that is why many Police officers retire and within one month when they hear of what we are passing through they die of hypertension.
“They exempted the military, they exempted the DSS, what is the reason that the police was not exempted.
“The major issue that made them to exempt the military, we are also suffering from it, mortality rate, work hazards and protection of the territorial integrity of this nation.
“It may be argued that the non-exemption of the Nigeria Police from the Contributory Pension Scheme was the decision of the then IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris (rtd). “The decision was not borne out of patriotism nor the interest of the retired Police Officers, but the then IGP was overwhelmed by the guaranteed position of the Chairmanship of Board of Directors of the NPF Pensions and other interests.
“He sacrificed the interest of Police retirees and serving officers and that of their families for his personal gains.
“The teleguided representation was selfish and borne out of the fact that the retired IGPs have succeeded to constitute themselves into rotational Chairmen of Board of Directors of the NPF Pensions Limited.
“Their rotational directorship of the NPF Pensions Limited is extremely detrimental to fair dealing with Police retirees and management of the fund.
According to him, Police retirees believed they have been badly short changed under the new law as it did not take into consideration the reasonable number of years they had served.
He pleaded that the rational that qualified the Military and the Department of State Services (DSS) for exemption from the Pension Reform Act; should be extended to the police.
It is the view of the pensioners’, that the money paid to them as lump sum and monthly pension is calculated and silent attempt to ensure they die” shortly after retirement.
On the debarment allowance which Nigerian security agencies like the military, Navy, Army and Airforce have been enjoying except retired Police officers, “We are asking for debarment allowance, it is allowance given to Nigerian security agencies like the military, Navy, Army and Airforce.
“The reason being that they are well trained and sophisticated handling in security matter, including Police we are doing the same work, including ballistic, Explosive operation department, intelligence department.
“All those things, the military were settled because they know if they are not settled they may be exposed for some other persond to use them against the security of this nation, we should also be beneficiary to these things.”
He said they want the National assembly to amend the law to exempt the police retirees from Contributory pensions Scheme and pay them all the monies that accrued to them under the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The benefits are running in to trillions of Naira, some of them just retired and they are also suffering but some have enriched themselves while in office and that is why they don’t border about what we are passing through.
“Life for us has been extremely difficult and that is why some policemen retire and within one month they die. When they hear about what the retirees are passing through, you retire as ASP or SP but you go home with only N1.5m an N40,000 as pension.
“Some developed high blood pressure and collapsed. Some are on wheel chair, some have died”