About 4,000 retired policemen are yet to receive their pensions since 2017 when they left the Force after 35 years of serving the nation.
Many of them who spoke to Sunday PUNCH lamented their situation, which they described as horrible as the police and the Federal Government continued to trade blame over the matter.
Some of the retirees, whose pensions are being managed by the Police Pension Fund Administrator and regulated by the National Pension Commission, told Sunday PUNCH on Friday, that they were not given their gratuity, despite undertaking several data capture.
By law, the Nigeria Police Force Pensions Limited is supposed to pay a retiree monthly or quarterly income for life after retirement, which is guaranteed for a period of 10 years.
A senior National Pension Commission official, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday, blamed the Nigeria Police Force Pensions Limited, for the delay, stating that the firm was not proactive in addressing the complaints of the retirees. He stated that the regulatory agency had upbraided several pension funds administrators over their poor work ethics and attitude to pensioners.
But the Force Pensions Officer, DCP Ibrahim Tafa, said the Federal Government was to blame for the delays in the pension payment, which he said was not peculiar to the police. He stressed that other federal workers were also affected.
He said, “ You know the police are not responsible for paying them ( retirees). The contributory pension scheme is very clear. The Pension Reform Act made them have their pension fund administrators and the delay is because of the non – the release of their full rights by the Federal Government.
“I ’m sure all of them have been captured by the National Pension Commission. It has to be budgeted for and it takes almost a year and before they pass the budget into law, it takes time.
So, the Federal Government is releasing it gradually in arrears. We have arrears of over one year now; the last payment was around August 2018.
“So, all those that have retired within this year have not received their money ( pension). November and December retirees have not received their full rights. So, there are processes, but all of them would be paid if they have been captured by the PENCOM. The administrators have all their data and immediately Federal Government releases the money, they would be paid. The delays affected all Federal Government workers, not only the police.”
He added, “ Like those who are to retire in 2020, PENCOM has verified and enrolled them. Now, they would compute their money and send it to the Ministry of Finance and it would be budgeted for payment. This is the challenge we are facing because of the delays in the payment of our full rights .”
The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, also absolved the police of blame, noting that the pension payment often suffered delays due to technical issues or counterpart contributions by the FG.
He stated, “ Each person ’s case might differ. Some may have to do with a lack of documentation, or because some things in their documentation were queried. Some might be delayed because the federal government had not paid their counterpart contribution and this is the commonest problem.
He advised the complainants to report to the pensions desk at their command and escalate the matter to their PFAs.