Stakeholders at the public hearing on the proposed bill to establish Police Pension Board at the National Assembly on Friday differed on its necessity citing several reasons.
The bill was proposed by Senator Elisha Abbo representing Adamawa North senatorial district.
At the public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, while senators, the Police and groups of police retirees supported the proposal, the National Pension Commission, NPC, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, and Nigeria Labour Congress, kicked against the proposal.
The Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba, represented by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sanusi Lemu, in his presentation, said the Police required a distinct board on its own for management and administration of pensions of retired police personnel in the mode of the Military Pension Board.
The IGP argued: “The Police as clearly stated by the title of the bill “Police Pension Board Establishment Bill 2022”, deserved 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 PENCOM, is long overdue for the Police on account of poor services, he argued.
“The proposed board will boost the morale of police personnel to dispassionately discharge their duties of fighting crimes,” he said.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Dauda Haliru Jika, sponsor of the bill, Senator Elisha Abbo and Senator Ali Ndume in their separate remarks said the police deserved to be given the special treatment being enjoyed by the military by way of a special pension board.
Their position was kicked against by the Director-General of PENCOM, Aisha Dahiru who said allowing the Police to exit NPC will amount to taking the country back to the dark ages of mismanagement of pension fund which landed the country with N1.6 trillion liabilities in June 2004 when the scheme started.
Also kicking against the proposed board, the Chief Executive Officer of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Oguche Agudah, admonished the committee and by extension the Senate, not to legislate liabilities.
He said since the proposed body will be solely funded by budgetary allocations, an avoidable burden will be placed on the federal government currently battling with N10.7 trillion budget deficit in the 2023 fiscal year.
“We cannot in good faith, legislate liabilities,” he argued.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Waba, in his presentation, said the proposed Police Pension Board is well envisioned but the problem is the sustainability of funding arguing that the mistake of moving from known to unknown should not be made.
In the meantime, stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the proposed move by the Senate for the establishment of the Nigeria Police Special Force Academy on the strength of a bill sponsored to that effect by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).
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