A proposal has been made to President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval of the payment of 300 percent gross annual salaries as gratuities to retired police officers.
This is even as some police retirees have asked for their total exit from the pension schemes like their counterparts in the Nigerian Army, Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
During an interactive session with about 2,000 retired policemen from the North Central geopolitical zone in Minna yesterday, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Police Force Pension Limited, Alhaji Abdulkareem Gizawa, stated that President Buhari has approved the payment of the 2.5 percent increment in pension for all pensioners.
Gizawa went on to say that the president had also approved the payment of death benefits to the relatives of police officers who died between 2014 and this year, but he did not specify when the affected people would begin receiving bank alerts to confirm the payment.
According to the Managing Director, the interactive session was held with police retirees across the country because “most of the retirees are complaining about the small pension they are receiving.”
In addition, while speaking to the retirees, Sanusi Lemu, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) in charge of Finance and Administration at Force Headquarters, acknowledged that police salaries are very low, adding that the only time “we had a remarkable improvement in our salaries and welfare packages was during the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua.”
Despite the promises, many of the retirees who spoke at the forum, which was held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Niamey, Niger State’s capital, demanded that they be denied any form of pension, just like their counterparts in other security agencies, especially since they (police) are in charge of the country’s internal security.
DSP Joseph Akubo (rtd) spoke on behalf of the retirees, lamenting that the majority of them, after serving the country meritoriously for 32 to 35 years, go home with less than N35,000 monthly because they are under the Contributory Pension Scheme, whereas some of their colleagues under other schemes receive close to N200,000, adding that those in other security agencies continue to draw 10 percent.
“On retirement, a DSP in the police force receives N1.8 million as a gratuity, whereas those in other security agencies receive N10 million. This is completely unfair,” Akubo lamented before requesting that they be completely excluded from any pension scheme.
In response to the remarks, DIG Lemu stated that the police have no authority to review the law and that only the National Assembly has the authority to do so.
Meanwhile, the program’s coordinator, Chukwuma Ohaka, had chased journalists away from the event’s location, saying, “We did not ask any journalist to cover this event; it is an in-house affair.”