President, Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), Mr Fidelis Oyakhilome, has called on the Federal Government to urgently release the 13 months pension arrears of its members to enhance their retirement benefits.
Oyakhilome, who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, also called for the payment of special gratuity to retired police officers at the rate of 300 per cent of their final gross pay.
He noted the need for the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) to allow the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Pensions to pay retirees from their Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
According to him, this is necessary pending the remittances of their accrued rights.
“However, the challenge being faced by this category of retirees is that the Federal Government was in arrears of payment of accrued rights for 13 months, thereby causing delay in payment of officer’s pension.
“Police Officers who retired from Jan. 1, 2016 are being paid by the Police Pension Fund Administrator (NPF Pensions Ltd.), which was established to exclusively manage the pensions of police officers under the contributory scheme.
” As a result of this development, police retirees under the contributory scheme have continued to cast NPF pensions and the police authorities in bad light, alleging that their pensions have been unduly denied or unduly delayed.”
Oyakhilome said that following the delay of accrued rights, the management of NPF Pensions Ltd. had met with the Inspector General of Police, who thereafter wrote to PENCOM requesting for separate budgeting and remittance of accrued rights of police personnel.
He said that part of the demand was that the NPF Pensions be allowed to pay police retirees from the balances in their RSA, pending the payment of their accrued rights.
“Neither of these requests has been granted by PENCOM, while the retirees agitation are still raging on.
” The number of retirees awaiting these payments from the Federal Government stands at 3,161, it is also worthy to note that the delay of accrued rights and the attendant hardship being faced by retirees.”
Oyakhilome said the financial pressure on pensioners was too much, stressing that most pensioners were now feeble, old and needed everybody’s assistance.
He however commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the payment of 33 per cent increase arrears since 2010 and the payment of retired Biafra Police officers.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, NPF Pensions Ltd., Alhaji Sulaiman Abba said following attendant hardship faced by retirees, the board in concurrence with the IGP and PenCom, approved N400 million annually to alleviate their sufferings pending the resolution of all contending issues.
Abba, who is a retired IGP, said the intervention known as the ‘Retirement Resettlement Support Scheme’, gave certain monies to affected retirees pending receipt of their accrued rights.
“So far, the sum of N1.1 billion has been paid to 9,070 retirees under this scheme, this scheme is the first for now in the pension industry, and which the NPF Pensions is doing for now.”