Tag Archives: pension

Nigerian Pensioners Decry Lockdown

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ekiti State chapter, on Thursday said pensioners faced double jeopardy during the lockdown with unpaid salaries and inability to get resources to fend for their families and health needs

It appealed to the state and federal governments to consider its members in the various palliatives gestures to cushion the effect of the lockdown imposed to check the spread of COVID-19.

Ekiti NUP Chairman, Ayo Kumapayi; and Secretary, Azeez Agbaje, made the declaration in a statement in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

The statement read, “We have recorded several deaths of our members since this lockdown began, most of them especially from 70 years above are now in critical condition due to hunger.

“The lockdown is a double jeopardy on our members because some of us are still being owed pension by government while the children who were supposed to provide for the pensioners’ food are also trapped in the lockdown.”

On palliative, the pensioners stated, “It is very important that government reaches out to our members through the route used for the payment of pension and allowances or pass through the union so as to save our members from untimely death.”


#Newsworthy…

N7tn of N9.99tn pension fund added to FG securities investment


About N7tn of the N9.99tn pension fund assets has been invested in the Federal Government securities by Pension Fund Administrators.

Latest data from the National Pension Commission also showed that the PFAs raised their investment in infrastructure to N40.52bn as of November 30, 2019.

The N7tn invested in the Federal Government securities represents about 70.88 per cent of the total pension fund assets.


The figures are contained in a PenCom report obtained by our correspondents on Tuesday.

An analysis of the data showed that while the Federal Government’s securities took a huge chunk of the pension assets, state government bonds and corporate bonds took the balance of 29.12 per cent.


A breakdown of the figures showed that the highest amount of N4.86tn was invested in the Federal Government bonds alone.

This was followed by N2.1tn investment in Treasury Bills, while investment in Sukuk bond, agency bond and green bonds followed with N78.1bn, N10.82bn and N15.64bn respectively.


The N10.82bn agency bond, according to the commission, was invested in two government agencies, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

The commission in the report stated that the sum of N117.79bn was invested by the PFAs in state governments’ securities.


This is about 1.18 per cent of the total pension fund assets of N9.99tn

For the private sector, an analysis of the report showed that the sum of N535.93bn, representing about 5.36 per cent of the fund, was invested in domestic ordinary shares, while foreign ordinary shares had a total investment of N62.6bn, amounting to 0.69 per cent.


The data also indicated that a total of N40.52bn was invested in infrastructure.

According to the commission, in May 2015, the operators invested N568m in infrastructure and increased this to N1.35bn in December 2015.


It added that the PFAs invested N2.06bn in infrastructure bond in December 2016. The investment rose to N6.86bn in December 2017.

The amount invested in infrastructure as of the end of September 2018 was put at N17.12bn.

Other security instruments where the pension fund was invested are the corporate bonds, N597.45bn, and the supra-national bonds, N4.1bn.

Similarly, the sum of N5.03bn was invested by the PFAs in foreign money market securities; N23.62bn in mutual funds; N224.63bn in real estate; N32.31bn in private equity fund; while cash and other asset investments had N45.14bn


#Newsworthy….

SERAP Sue FCT for unnecessary payment of life pension (Read..)

….heating date yet to be fixed


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to declare the life pension edict/law 2019, passed by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) null, void, illegal and unconstitutional; and to restrain and stop AMAC, its chairman; deputy chairman; speaker; legislature and/or their agents from paying life pensions to former officials, and ultimately, to themselves under the edict/law.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order to direct and compel AMAC, its chairman; deputy chairman; speaker; and legislature to recover all previous payments made under the AMAC life pension edict/law, from those who have already collected pensions, and to return same to the coffers of the council so that the public funds can be spent to provide public goods and services for residents.”

In the suit number CV/840/2020 filed last Friday, SERAP said: “The AMAC edict granting life pensions to ex-officials is a blatant usurpation of the constitutional powers of the National Assembly. Unless stopped, AMAC and its officials will spend millions and ultimately, billions of taxpayers’ money on life pensions, the council’s funds that should be spent to address the poor state of basic amenities and deficits in educational institutions, primary healthcare facilities, potable water, sanitation and infrastructural needs of the residents within the council’s area.”


The suit followed SERAP’s open letter dated 11 October, 2019 to Mr Abdullahi Adamu Candido, chairman of AMAC, urging him to: “urgently withdraw and revoke the edict for the unconstitutional and illegal payment of life pensions to former chairmen, vice-chairmen, speakers and other officials of AMAC.”

According to SERAP: “The court should exercise its inherent and statutory powers to defend the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), and hold that the AMAC pension edict is unconstitutional and stop any payment of pensions under the said edict. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, AMAC and its officials will continue to use the pension edict for personal gain, in breach of constitutional provisions, and at the expense of the people and residents of council’s area. This is what the provisions of Section 1, Part 1, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution expressly forbids.”


SERAP is also seeking “a declaration that AMAC and its officials have no constitutional or statutory authority whatsoever to enact any pension edict/law for the benefit of former officials, and ultimately, for their own benefit.”

SERAP also said: “Under the pension edict, AMAC’s past council chairmen would receive an annual pension of N500,000; former vice chairmen are to receive N300,000 each while former speakers will be paid N200,000 each.”


The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “The edict is entirely inconsistent with the with the provisions of Item 44, Second Schedule, Part 1 Nigerian Constitution, and to that extent, the law is null, void, illegal and unconstitutional.”

“It is only the National Assembly that has power to make laws on pension under the Nigerian Constitution. AMAC and its officials went beyond the scope of their constitutional powers to make laws on payment of annual pensions for the council’s former chairmen, former vice-chairmen and former speakers.


“The payment of life pensions to the council’s chairmen, vice-chairmen and speakers would cause massive financial crisis and cripple the council’s ability to discharge its mandates of providing public goods and services to the people of Abuja. It would also put in jeopardy citizens’ access to those services.

“The payment of life pensions to AMAC’s former officials is a copycat of the unconstitutional and illegal life pension laws that have been passed by several of the 36 state governments in Nigeria.


“SERAP is asking the court for a declaration that the AMAC life pension edict was passed contrary to AMAC and its officials’ powers in Fourth Schedule, Part III of the Nigerian Constitution. The AMAC edict is inconsistent with the provisions of Item 44, Second Schedule, Part 1 of the Constitution, and it is therefore null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.

“The exclusive legislative list contains items/subject matters on which only the National Assembly can legislate. Specifically, Item 44, Second Schedule, Part 1 of the Nigerian Constitution makes clear that only the National Assembly can make law for payment of pension to the classes of public officers whose funds are payable out of the public funds of the Federation.


“The AMAC, being a local government, is established by Section 3[6] and 7 of the Nigerian Constitution and its functions are laid out in section 7[5] and Sections 1 and 2, Fourth Schedule of the Constitution. There is nothing in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution that allows the AMAC and its officials to make laws on pension.

“The AMAC and its officials ought to exercise their public functions for the purposes of providing public goods and services to the people of Abuja and not to grant personal benefits for past officials. The AMAC and its officials are constitutionally and statutorily obliged to act in the public interest.

Minister Mohammed Musa Bello; Federal Capital Territory


“People have the right to honest and faithful performance by public officials, who are under a fiduciary duty to the public. And no public official should put himself/herself in a position in which his/her personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit


#Newsworthy…

FG may borrow N2trn from pension fund – Mrs. Zainab.

… we’ve been able to release N1.2trn

Low revenue will constrain the implementation of the 2020 budget, Minister of Finance. Budget and Panning Mrs Zainab Ahmed said on Thursday.

She noted that 44 per cent of projected revenue would come from oil-related sources while the remaining 56 per cent is projected from the non-oil sector.

According to her, because the implementation of the budget will start on January 1, the operation of the 2019 budget has been terminated. There will be no release of capital funding henceforth.

The minister spoke on Thursday during the breakdown of the budget.

She explained that the government was doing its best to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to seven per cent

Mrs Ahmed said: “We have been able to release N1.2 trillion. We will not be making any more releases before the end of the year. We are not doing any more releases. However, there are some in various stages of processing that would be completed. The 2020 budget takes effect from January 1, 2020.”

She noted that in releasing funding for capital projects, priority was given to critical ongoing projects in rail, roads, power and agriculture sectors while debt service and the implementation of non-debt recurrent expenditure, particularly payment of workers’ salaries and pensions will continue.

On the Finance Bill and the requirement of Tax Identification Number (TIN) to operate a bank account, she said not all the provisions of the bill would be implemented from January 1, 2020, adding that the government would engage banks on the modality for implementation of the TIN requirements.

She expressed optimism that the Finance Bill which has about 83 modifications meant to improve the business environment, especially for small and medium enterprises, would soon be sent to the President by the lawmakers for assent, adding, until the Finance Bill is assented; the measures we are talking about “are just plans for now. We are confident that within this week, Mr President will have this bill from the National Assembly”

She noted that the projected N8.42 trillion revenue is 3.2 per cent or N263.94 billion over the executive proposal, and 10.9 per cent more than the 2019 Budget of N7.59 trillion) .

To promote fiscal transparency and accountability, the budget of 10 major Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) have been integrated in the Federal Government budget with effect from 2020.

#Newsworthy…

Borno government release pension, salary.

…as Christmas draw closer.

Workers and pensioners in Borno State will celebrate the Yuletide with smiles as December salaries and pensions have started hitting their bank accounts.

This follows a directive by the state governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum that no affected Christian should celebrate Wednesday’s Christmas without December salary or pension.

The governor directive, according to his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, is to ensure Christians are able prepare for the Christmas better and on time

Gusau, in a statement on Wednesday, said the payment was in line with the Governor’s consistency in the prompt payment of workers salaries which has never been in default.

He said: “Governor Zulum has always considered payment of salaries not as achievement but as payment of debt, in this case, government paying for services rendered by law abiding civil servants contracted to work. It is public knowledge that salaries of workers in Borno have regularly been paid before 26th of every month.

“For December however, Professor Zulum, in line with a tradition of releasing salaries ahead of religious festivals, directed relevant government officials to ensure workers and pensioners were paid before 20th of December.

“ The Governor’s directive has been complied with and workers have started receiving credit alerts from their respective banks since Tuesday.”

He said the governor wishes all Christians a wonderful Christmas, while assuring them of continued efforts in safeguarding lives and property of all in the state.

#Newsworthy…

Maina, son to remain in Kuje Correctional Centre till 2020 over pension scam.

…the next witness was in court.

Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTM), and his son, Faisal, are to remain in Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja, till January 2020.

Justice Okon Abang, who gave the order, on Wednesday, adjourned hearing on Abdulrasheed’s bail variation application till Jan. 13, 2020 while Faisal’s trial continuation was adjourned till Jan. 20, 2020.

Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Abang had said that though it would not be convenient for the court to take trial, bail variation arguments would be taken.

EFCC’s counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, however, said he was ready for trial continuation and that the next witness was in court.

On his part, Abdulrasheed’s lawyer, Mohammed Monguno, reminded the court of the pending application filed on Dec. 6 for bail variation.

Abubakar, therefore, urged the court to adjourn hearing on the bail variation application because the defence had just served on him its further affidavit the same day.

“We apply that the hearing be adjourned to enable us react to their further affidavit,” he said.

Monguno, who described the motion as “simple application,” said the call for the adjournment was to delay proceeding.

“We were the ones who filed further affidavit in response to their counter affidavit.

“We urge Your Lordship not to grant their prayer because it is an attempt to delay this matter,” he said.

Deborah Apete, Counsel to Maina’s company, Common Input Investment Limited, adopted the submission of Monguno, saying “the motion is ripe for hearing.”

Abubakar, in his argument, said that Maina’s application was brought relevant to provision of ACJA and 1999 constitution.

He, however, said that there was no provision in ACJA or the constitution that precludes ones from filing further counter-affidavit in reaction to further affidavit filed by the applicant.

“What the first defendant filed was a further and better affidavit.

“Section 36 of 1999 Constitution affords us the right to file further counter-affidavit,” he said.

Abubakar said Maina’s application was filed on Dec. 17 but they deliberately served him Dec. 18 in order to deny EFCC the right to fair hearing by way of responding to the further and better affidavit.

“We urge Your Lordship to discountenance the learned senior counsel’s plea,” he added.

Ruling, Justice Abang acknowledged that he had already signified intention to take the application.

He, however, said that there was no provision of ACJA stopping the prosecution from filing further counter-affidavit.

“What is fair is fair in both civil and criminal proceeding.

“I think the law allows the prosecution to file a further counter-affidavit,” citing Denis Amadi and Ozor Mbachi 2016 case in which the Court of Appeal overruled his decision.

The judge then adjourned taking the bail variation application till Jan. 13, 2020, while he adjourned the trial continuation till Jan. 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2020.

Also, Justice Abang adjourned the trial continuation of Faisal till Jan. 20 and 21, 2020.

The judge said it would not “be convenient for the court to take further trial today.”

He said the date would also be to cross-examined the second prosecution witness.

NobleReporters recall that Justice Abang had, on Nov. 25, admitted Abdulrasheed Maina to a bail in the sum of N1 billion.
The judge, who gave the ruling, also ordered that Maina must produce two sureties who must be serving senators.

The two lawmakers, according to the judge, must not be standing any criminal trial in any court in the country.

He also ruled that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500 million bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.

Abang also admitted Faisal Maina to a bail in the sum of N60 million on Nov. 26.

The judge, who gave the ruling, also said the defendant should produce a surety, who must be a member of the House of Representatives in the like sum.

However, both of them had been unable to meet the bail conditions.

In the last adjourned date Justice Abang granted Faisal’s plea to be transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre from Police Tactical Squad, Asokoro.

#Newsworthy…

SERAP – Disclose payment of pension to Governors in all 36 states within 7 days.

…says, they would be honoured if granted.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, chairman and deputy chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), respectively, and other 34 governors urging them to use their leadership position to urgently disclose details of payment of pensions to their predecessors and other ex-officials between 1999 and 2019 under their state’s pension law, and to provide a copy of the said pension law.

SERAP is also urging each of the 36 governors to provide information on whether any such pension law exists in their various states and if so, to provide names and number of ex-governors and other ex-officials receiving pensions and to publicly commit to repealing the law, and to pursue recovery of funds collected under the pension law.

In the letter dated October 9, and signed by deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Public officials should not encourage, sustain, or implement jumbo pension laws that show an appearance of conflict of interest, impropriety or create situation of personal enrichment. The pension law negates the duty to act honestly and to represent the needs and concerns of the people, and to refrain from activities, which interfere with the proper discharge of public functions.

“Any such pension law also represents the use of public office to advance private interests at the expense of some public interest, suggests the misuse of legitimate discretion for improper reasons, and has created a more cynical public view of politics and politicians.”

SERAP’s FoI request read in part: “Repealing any such pension law would demonstrate your commitment to public service and the requirements of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). It would show that you would not tolerate the use of public office in a manner which ignores the public interest in order to achieve personal advantage.

“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the FoI Act to compel you to comply with our request.

“Pension law for former governors and other senior ex-officials represents a conflict with the constitutional and legal conflict code of conduct for public officials, and would seem to prioritise private interest of former state officials over and above the public interest and public duties of state governors.The duties on public officials including governors flowing from their position as trustees to the public also include the duty to refrain from activities which interfere with the proper discharge of their functions, and the duty not to place themselves in a position where public duty conflicts with private interest.”

SERAP’s request is coming on the heels of the landmark judgment delivered last week by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordering the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.

The judgment followed the invalidated pension law for former governors and other ex-public officers in Zamfara State, which provided for the upkeep of ex-governors to the tune of N700 million annually. The state has produced three former governors since 1999.

#Newsworthy…

Nyesom Wike approves 2673 additional pensioners.

…pensioners currently receiving monthly pensions

Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers has approved the inclusion of 2,673 additional retirees into the monthly pension payment scheme of the state government.

According to a statement on Sunday by the Director-General, Rivers State Pension Board, Ijeoma Samuel, the approval followed the completion of biometric data capture of the new pensioners.

This is in addition to the 15,400 pensioners currently receiving monthly pensions, the statement said.

According to the statement, the State Monthly Pensions Payroll now has 18,073 Pensioners while the biometric capture was ongoing for public servants retiring between August and December 2019.

It said that an ICT Department would soon start the biometric verification exercise for the next batch of retiring public servants.

The statement commended the governor for giving the pensioners a ‘new song’ for the Christmas. and New Year.

#Newsworthy…

Lagos house of assembly will not repeal the law allowing ex governors to receive pensions.

Lagos House of Assembly said it would not repeal the state’s pension law permitting former governors and other public office holders to receive juicy pensions from state coffers.

Mr Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, told the media yesterday, that the Assembly would not go the way of Zamfara Assembly, which recently repealed pension law for its former governors.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

The court also directed the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to receive such pensions.

Braimoh, however, faulted the court ruling that ordered Malami to take immediate legal action toward the abolishment of state laws that permit “former governors to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.”

He said as long as the law did not contravene the constitution, state assemblies had the right to make laws for the benefit of the society in which they operate.

He atgued that separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution empowers the legislature to make laws, the executive to implement and the judiciary to interpret the laws.

“The Supreme Court had made it clear several times that no arm of government can repeal the constitutional provisions of another arm of government.

“Therefore, legislators make laws that are in tune with the yearnings and dynamics of their society.

“Until another legislature comes to alter, review or amend the law, the law is meant to be obeyed.

“The judiciary cannot pronounce that a law by the state is unconstitutional unless such state law is contradictory to the constitution.”

Braimoh said he was not aware of any law that restricted state assemblies from making laws for the provision of welfare package of former governors and public office holders.

#Newsworthy…

I have never been given a dime from the rivers pension – Rotimi C. Amaechi

… I do not believe that I am to collect pension

Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has reacted to a federal high court judgement which directed the federal government to recover pensions and allowances received by former and serving senators as ex-governors.

NobleReporters reported earlier that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) obtained the ”landmark judgement” after suing the Nigerian government for failing to seek the recovery of over “N40bn unduly received by the former governors” who are now serving senators and ministers.

Alleged beneficiaries of such pension include Bukola Saraki, Godswill Akpabio Rabiu Kwankwaso, Theodore Orji, Abdullahi Adamu, Sam Egwu, Shaaba Lafiagi, Joshua Dariye, Jonah Jang, Ahmed Sani Yarima, Danjuma Goje, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Adamu Aliero, George Akume, Biodun Olujimi, Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe, Rotimi Amaechi, Kayode Fayemi, Chris Ngige and Babatunde Fashola.

However reacting to the court judgement, Rotimi Amaechi who was listed as one of the beneficiaries denied ever asking or receiving pension as an ex-Governor after leaving office in 2015.

He added that even if offered, he will politely decline and request that the money be given to Rivers State pensioners.

“I have never requested for or collected one kobo as pension from R/State Govt. If offered, I will politely decline & request that the money should be given to Rivers State pensioners.

“I do not believe that I should receive pension as ex-gov of R/State while serving as a minister” he tweeted.

I?ve never collected a kobo in pension as ex-governor of Rivers State - Rotimi Amaechi

#Newsworthy…

High court orders FG to reverse pensions given to Saraki, Akpabio, others.

…Asks AGF to challenge states’ pension laws

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors who later serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

Justice Oguntoyinbo also asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.

It would be recalled that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
had in July 2017 requested AGF to urgently institute appropriate legal action to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to seek full recovery of public funds from those involved.

However, due to failure of AGF to act on the letter, SERAP instituted a suit, sought for an order of mandamus to compel AGF.
In the suit, SERAP sought for an order of mandamus to compel the AGF to file action to challenge States’ pension laws for former governors and recover public funds collected by them in the public interest, since the Attorney General has failed/neglected to institute such action.

In it opposition to the suit, AGF argued that the States’ laws duly passed could not be challenged. The minister also argued that SERAP has not shown any injury it has suffered any injury as a result of the salaries and allowances being given to former governors who are now senators.

In order to rule on the application, Justice Oguntoyinbo raised following questions: “who should approach the Court where a particular law is not in the best interest of Nigeria as a country or National interest? Who should approach the Court where a particular law is detrimental to the interest of the country? Who should institute actions in court for the purpose of recovering public funds collected?
And in it judgment, the court held :”In my humble view, the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation.

” I have considered SERAP’s arguments that it is concerned about the attendant consequences that are manifesting on the public workers and pensioners of the states who have been refused salaries and pensions running into several months on the excuse of non-availability of state resources to pay them. SERAP has also argued that there is need to recover such public funds collected by former governors.

“It is clear from the facts of this case that SERAP had written the Attorney General to institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of States’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to seek full recovery of funds from those involved.

“SERAP has stated that since the receipt of the said letter, the Attorney General has failed, refused and/or neglected to institute appropriate legal actions to that effect. In my view, the principle of ‘demand and refusal’ has been satisfied by SERAP. I have also considered the fact that in action to protect a public right or enforce the performance of a public duty, it is the Attorney General that ought to sue.

“Having considered all the facts presented by SERAP on the need for the suit and the counter-affidavit against same, I find no reason why the order of mandamus should not be granted. I am of the view that SERAP’s suit has merit.

“I resolve this issue against the Attorney General, in favour of SERAP. I hold that the Motion of Notice for Mandamus dated 6th February 2018 and filed on 7th February 2018 has merit. It is therefore granted in the terms sought.

“In other words, the Attorney General is hereby directed to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to identify those involved and seek full recovery of public funds from the former governors.

“I take judicial notice of the essence of the creation of SERAP. I believe that SERAP has the locus standi to bring this suit. More so, this is a constitutional matter. In constitutional matters, the requirement of locus standi becomes unnecessary to a great extent as it may merely impede judicial function. This issue is therefore resolved against the Attorney General, in favour of SERAP.”

Justice Oguntoyinbo has adjourned the suit to February 3, 2020 for hearing on report of compliance with the court orders/judgment by the Federal Government.

Commenting on the judgment, SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “This ground-breaking judgment is a victory for Nigerian workers and pensioners who have not been paid by state governors for several months and struggle to make ends meet whilst former governors now serving as ministers and senators continue to collect double emoluments and enjoy opulent lifestyles.”

“Justice Oguntoyinbo’s judgment shows the urgent need for state governors in Nigeria to follow the Zamfara example by immediately abolishing the obnoxious pension laws in their states. We commend Justice Oguntoyinbo for her courage and wisdom, and urge President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr Malami to immediately obey the court orders.”

“This judgment should catalyse further action from the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor Dr Kayode Fayemi to use this judgment to abolish pension law in his own state and make a clear public commitment that the Governors’ Forum under his watch will push all governors and ex-governors to abolish life pensions and return public funds collected by them before being compelled to do so.”

Femi Falana, SAN said on the judgment: “SERAP deserves the commendation of all well-meaning people that have agonised over the legalization of obscene pension package for former governors. This is one of the most patriotic public interest litigation ever undertaken in Nigeria. We call on state governors to use the judgment as the basis for formally repealing life pension laws and all other retrogressive laws without any further ado.”

At least 22 states starting from Lagos State have passed life pensions laws for former governors and other ex-public officials.

Other states include Akwa Ibom; Edo; Delta; Kano; Gombe; Yobe; Borno; Bauchi; Abia; Imo; Bayelsa; Oyo; Osun; Kwara; Ondo; Ebonyi; Rivers; Niger; Kogi; and Katsina.

SERAP’s letter to AGF on need to stop the act read in part: “According to our information, those who reportedly receive double emoluments and large severance benefits from their states include: Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Kabiru Gaya (Kano); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara); Joshua Dariye (Plateau), and Jonah Jang (Plateau).”

“Others include: Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); George Akume (Benue); and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).”

The judgment is coming on the heels of the invalidated pension law for former governors and other ex-public officers in Zamfara State, which provided for the upkeep of ex-governors to the tune of N700 million annually. The state has produced three former governors since 1999.

#Newsworthy…

Just In – Pension funds raised to N9.58 trillion – PenCom.

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) yesterday said it has grown pension funds assets to N9.58 trillion as at the end of September 2019.

This is even as the number of registered contributors under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has grown to 8.85 million.

The Acting Director General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said this yesterday at a workshop for Journalists in Benin, adding that the growth, indeed, justifies the commission’s emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS.

Mrs Dahir-Umar also assured all stakeholders that the pension reform was steadily on course.

She said: “These modest milestones, notwithstanding, the commission and pension operators are committed to actualising the growth potential of the pension industry.

“I am glad to inform you that we have remained focused on concluding some of the pension industry’s transformational initiatives which the commission has been pursuing.”

She explained that the theme of the workshop; “Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry” describes the Commission’s current strategic focus to expand access to pension via the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development.

She added that this aligned with the pension reform objective of old age poverty reduction and improvement in the welfare and general standard of living.

“The quest to expand coverage of pension is being pursued through some transformational initiatives especially the Micro Pension Plan”, she stated.

On the micro-pension,

launched in March, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, the PenCom boss said it was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population.

She said the MPP, is targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who are not mandatorily covered under the CPS.

#Newsworthy…

Pensioners welfare is very important to Buhari and would not be toyed with – PTAD…

Nigeria

The Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr Chioma Ejikeme, has assured government pensioners on the Direct Benefits Scheme (DBS) that their welfare is important to President Muhammadu Buhari and would not be toyed with.

She gave the assurance at a recent verification exercise in Abuja where retirees were captured on PTAD’s database to make payment of their entitlements quicker and smoother. The PTAD boss also informed the anxious pensioners that they have been accommodated in the new minimum wage arrangement, saying that further advice on the matter was being awaited from the Salaries and Wages Commission.

“The Minimum Wage thing is a given,” she said. “The Salaries and Wages Commission will get back to us to let us know what percentage is accruable to pensioners. We’ve made provision for it in 2020 budget. You’ll get it.”

Ejikeme said the pensioner verification exercise was continuous, and will continue at state offices nationwide, even after the field operations were completed.

“We haven’t completed the exercise and, when we complete, we would give a lead period before we can determine the number of ghost pensioners we have.

“We have a way to know anyone who has passed on. All these are part of ways to clean up our database,” she said.

On the verification procedure proper, she explained: “First of all, you have to get certain documents. For instance, we are interested in your letter of first appointment, letter of confirmation of appointment, letter of last promotion, letter of retirement.

“So, when you bring all these things, you now go through the process. People at the data entry and data recording section would look at what you have written and all of that., from there you go to biometrics.

“From there, you go through quality assurance, from there the checkers who go through it, from there auditing. So, it’s quite a very comprehensive process. And then they get a computation and the kind of software we have now, the computation is done right here on the field. So, immediately we are able to know what the pensioner is going to get; assuming we are owing arrears or anything, it would immediately show with the software,” she explained.

On health insurance for pensioners, the PTAD boss said plans are afoot to launch a comprehensive health insurance scheme for them.

She added that the process will be underway once the database of PTAD was cleaned up.

“Let’s first remove ghost pensioners and then the next thing is working on further welfare for pensioners. As a medical doctor myself, I appreciate the need for that.

“Once you age, there is degeneration of the body and your pocket gets thinner and you can no longer spend as much as you spent when you were younger and working.

“So, that is why we are taking the welfare of pensioners very seriously. We will work closely with the unions on this,” she stated.

#Newsworthy…

Zamfara Assembly welcomes Yari, Repeals the law binding the payment of pension of former governors…

Zamfara House of Assembly has repealed the law mandating the state government to pay pension and other entitlements of former governors and deputies, as well as those of Speakers and their deputies.

Presenting the bill before the House on Tuesday, House leader Hon Faruk Musa Dosara, urged his colleagues to, as a matter of urgency, consider the repeal of the law which provided jumbo pay for former political leaders in the state to the detriment of retired civil servants who have not been paid their entitlements over the years.

Dosara said the category of past leaders were collecting over N700,000m annually, which, he said, the present state economy could not accommodate for now.

Seconding the motion at the chamber, Hon Tukur Jekada Birnin Tudu from Bakura local government, said the abolition of the law was necessary, arguing that “it is detrimental to the socio-economic wellbeing of our people.”

After serious deliberations and contributions by House members, the Speaker, Hon Nasiru Mu’azu Magarya, ordered the clerk of the House to give the bill first and second reading.

The House then went for a committee of whole meeting, after which the bill went for a third reading.

The House resolved that the bill has now been passed into law and would be sent to the governor for assent.

With this development, all past political leaders in the state will no longer enjoy any entitlements unless those prescribed by the National Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

#Newsworthy…

Abdulrashid Maina Gets Bail Option For N1 Billion…

Embattled former chairman of the defunct pension reform task team, Mr. Abdulrashid Maina has been granted a N1bn bail with two sureties in like sum by a Federal High Court which sat in Abuja.

The sureties must be serving Nigerian Senators with no criminal cases and must have fully developed landed property in Maitama or Asokoro district of Abuja. The sureties are also expected to submit 3-years tax clearance certificates and must appear at all further court rulings with him.

Justice Okon Abang who stated that the sureties must be residents of Abuja and must also show that they can pay the penance sum, added that the court shall be at liberty to revoke bail and the defendant will be remanded accordingly if any of the sureties fail to show up for court rulings.

Maina was also directed to submit his American passport, Nigerian passport and diplomatic passport(if any).

#Newsworthy..