A Bill for an Act to Amend the Pension Reform Act 2014 to provide for the exemption of the Nigeria Police Force from the Contributory Pension Scheme And for Related Matters on Tuesday passed for second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
This Bill seek to amend the Section 5, sub-section 1 paragraph (a) Pension Reform Act of 2014, to include the Nigerian Police Force as part of the categories of . persons exempted from the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Those currently exempted by the Act acording to the bill sponsor Hon.Francis Waive include: members of the Armed Forces, the intelligence and secret services of the Federation.
The Nigerian Police he siad was brought under the current pension scheme by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. The then government, which. modeled the country’s Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) after the Chilean scheme (Chile Pension Scheme) that exempted both the armed forces and the police from the scheme, unfortunately in adopting same model brought the police under the Nigerian Pension Scheme while exempting the military and other intelligence agencies.
Debating the principles of the bill he said: “Mr.Speaker, Honourable colleagues, the Nigeria Police Pensions Limited emanated from a Presidential approval that was aimed at enhancing the welfare of serving and retired police officers.
Consequent on the approval, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) was’ in 2012 directed to guide the Police towards the establishment of a Nigeria Police Pension Fund Administrator, in order to remain within the Contributory Pension Scheme and to address all other areas of concern on welfare and pension matters. Unfortunately operating under the current pension scheme has been both, unpalatable and regrettable for the retirees of the Nigerian Police Force.
“By the express provision of section 4 of the police Act, the Nigeria Police is charged amongst others with the responsibilities of performing such military duties within and outside Nigeria as may be required by the authority. By this provision the Nigeria Police Force is the only paramilitary organization in Nigeria recognized as such by law.
“The Police being the frontline security agency in the country are exposed to danger day and night more than other security agencies and as such deserves better treatment during and after service”.
He argued that it was on account of the above amongst many others the Nigerian Police ought and should be exempted from the current pension scheme like their counterpart in the Military and the Intelligence agencies.
“For example, the highest retirement benefit of Deputy Superintendent of Police under this obnoxious pension scheme is N2.5m and that of Assistant Superintendent of Police is N1.5m while their equivalent in Army (captain) and DSS are paid N12.8m and N10.3m respectively”.
He informed the Speaker and colleagues that upon retirement, the take-home pay of a retired Police DSP is just N31,6OO while that of a Captain and equivalent in the Army is N180,000.
While for example for a Police Inspector it is N15,000, a warrant Officer, the Army equivalent to a Police Inspector takes home N120,000 upon retirement.
He pointed out that the Nigeria Police is the principal law enforcement and the lead security agency in Nigeria.Morover due to the nature of their Job a policeman would risk his life and that of his dependant to serve the nation for 35yrs only to retire to a life of penury.
He also said that the Police are being made to face humiliation after retirement on account of their pension and gratuity scheme not being effective adding that the Problems with the non-payment of pension benefits under the present scheme are well known.
According to the Delta born lawmaker, ordinarily, life in retirement is a period of sitting back to enjoy the fruit of one’s hard work, just like any other retiree, should call for celebration.
It is a period others look forward to with huge expectations.
Regrettably, it’s not for the men of the Nigerian Police Force. At retirement, they become apprehensive and looks forward to the future with trepidation.
The lawmaker said that this Act when amended will exempt the Nigerian Police Force from the contributory pension scheme to ensure proper remuneration at retirement and also make room for improved welfare for serving police officers.
This in tum will serve as a positive motivation for better service delivery as a well motivated Police Force is likely to be an efficient and more productive Police force.
Consequently, the Speaker Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila urged the House and his colleagues to give an overwhelming support to the proposed legislation which later passed for second reading and was referred to the House Committee on Police Affairs.