Recently, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) put up a strong defense in support of Pensioners whose monies were extravagantly diverted by some inconsiderate employers.
This happens because employers had no reason under any law to withhold, cease or divert the rewards of hard labour of men and women who had put in most of their useful Life serving their employers.
In most cases, ex- governors are caught in the web of such Practice of using Pensioners’ Contributory funds for extraneous and extravagant purposes under the guise of State administration as was their Practice.
These ex-governors would prefer to use the money rather than forward it to the Pensioners’ respective Pension Administrators(PAs).
In PenCom 2022 first quarterly report revealed that many private companies albeit employers failed to forward the mandatory deductions from their employees to employees’ Pension Administrators.
These monies run in billions of naira owed to those employees that had left the services of their companies. If private companies of employees could do this, many governors who had left offices are presumably worse off.
According to the report, PenCom recovered N422.34 million from employers who failed to remit pension contributions of their employees to their respective pension fund administrators (PFAs) in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1’22). Worthy of note is that these employees are people’s father, mothers, guidance, breadwinners et cetera.
PenCom stressed in the report that the figure is 30.6 percent lower than the Commission’s recovery amounting N608.55 million in the corresponding period of 2021 (Q1’21).
According to the Commission, the amount comprises N124.89 million principal contribution and N295.45 million penalty, adding that the sum was recovered from 23 defaulting employers during the quarter under review. Meanwhile, six defaulting employers have been presented for appropriate legal action.
Labour Party Presidential Standard Bearer & erstwhile Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, at The Platform (The Covenant Nation) and in many other fora has claimed beating his chest that he left office without borrowing a Kobo, nor owing civil servant salaries neither did he owe any Pensioner in the State a dime.
Mr. Obi who has been monitored by this reporter has proudly said unequivocally that he left $50million in Access Bank, $50million in the defunct Diamond Bank and $56million in Fidelity Bank, in Anambra State Treasury before leaving office. One astounding thing about Obi was his audacity to challenge “anyone who cares” to go and verify all his claims. When asked “How manage”? He would say, “I consciously cut down the cost of Governance to the barest minimum, it would take discipline and being responsible to do,”
If his claims are totally correct, it would mean that PenCom has a duty to check the records of every outgone and outgoing governors and even Chief Executive Officers, Managing Directors, Executive Secretaries and other top officials on whose shoulders rest the onus to settle every Pension /Gratuities before leaving office to ascertain that workers are not owed their deserved contributed monies, as it just did to those 23 companies.
It’s disheartening to see some Chief Executives who are vying for different elective positions yet they’re owing not only salaries but Pension and Gratuities to people who committed about 35 years of their lives for the State or nation. The worst aspect of it is that these same current or former employers still implore the same older citizens to vote for them when they (pensioners) are being owed their due.
In line with its mission which is to “ensure effective regulation and supervision of the Nigerian Pension Industry to ensure that retirement benefits are paid as and when due” it is expected of PenCom to be very strict about what it professed. With the Act Establishing it, PenCom should not hesitate (as it did to 23 employers recently) to go after other employers in the public sector especially the State Governors, particularly those leaving office and seeking higher positions concurrently.
It’s not unlikely that employers – politicians would always tamper with Pensioners Funds to achieve their poltical ambitions at the peril of the senior citizens. A Pensioner who Pleaded anonymous said, “Its a broad day wickedness for an outgoing governor or CEO to relegate civil servants, retiring or already retired Civil servants, use their monies which runs in millions and in most cases in billions of naira to foot the bill of their personal campaigns or for their cronies,”
A Civil Servant (Ola Musa Kaka) has this to say, “It is the experience from our elder States men that make active Civil servants to go wild (against every laid down civil service rule) to amass wealth for themselves in other to save for the rainy days.
“We urged Civil Society Organizations, the media and other well meaning Nigerians to subject Politicians to public Panel of inquiry, let everyone of them tell the world how much they paid pension and Gratuities. It’s unfortunate to see fragile men and women who could hardly walk a kilometer protesting in the street while their employers turned politicians keep junketing and partying around seeking for another elective positions. We are waiting to see any other aspirants or candidate who would beat his chest and say he never owe any salary, pension and Gratuities while in office as Ex Governor, CEOs, Managing Directors, Heads of Pension Commission/ Ministries, Departments or Agencies. We applaud PenCom for standing tall in this regard, but they must beam their light on these Politicians who may be using Pensioners’ fund for their personal interest,” he implored.