The process for the amendment of the Pension Reforms Act by the House of Representatives which began recently in the House is a welcome development. Nigerian Retirees have suffered great mishaps, neglects and undeserved multi level maltreatment in the hands of their various Pension Funds Administrators who delay or out rightly withhold payments of entitlements to these retirees thereby punishing them for no just cause. This type of attitude towards our elder statesmen who have spent 35 years or thereabout of their productive lifetime serving this nation can best be described as wickedness.
A process where the Federal Government came up with a policy that affects the lives of millions of Nigerian elders without deeming it fit to monitor, supervise, control and enforce the policy with a view to bringing out its good intentions for the retirees is a waste of useful resources and official jamboree. Governments at all levels in Nigeria are experts in policy formulation without the needed political will to monitor, evaluate and prosecute where necessary. This flagrant act of irresponsibility and negligence on the part of our government should stop. The people put in place by government to make things work for Nigerians should endeavour to do the jobs entrusted to them with the fear of God and for the benefit of all.
The Private member bill, sponsored by Hon. Olaifa Jimoh Aremu is seeking upward review of retirement benefits due to retirees or disengaged workers from 25% to 75% immediately after retirement. This affects every person who worked in the Public Service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory, States and Local Governments and the Private Sector. It also seeks to criminalize undue delay in the payment of the accrued benefits. Sections 1(C), 7(2), 8(1), 18, 24 and 99 of the Pension Reforms Act Cap P50 Law of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2014 are to be amended to reflect the new thinking. This review, no doubt, is well overdue as Nigerian retirees have suffered untold hardships in the hands of these evil funds managers and administrators right from the inception of the policy in the country.
For the first time in the history of representative democracy, let our elected law makers rise up to their responsibilities and do the needful by promulgating laws that are beneficial to the larger society that they represent. They should always make the Executive Arm live up to the expectations of the people they represent and not form unholy alliances with the other arms of government for pecuniary reasons. The law makers have a lot to do to turn things around for Nigerians. If they fail to do the needful especially at this redefining moment of our nation’s development, they have a lot to fear both at home and abroad.
At this stage therefore, the other members of the House of Representatives should join hands with the sponsor of this great bill and make sure it passes through all the relevant stages, and passed into law without any delay. This will go a long way in shoring up the already battered image of our National Assembly members, and may be as a result of that, turn people’s heart back to them.
We wish those members of the NASS who are people oriented, always fighting the course of the masses, the helpless, the deprived as well as the marginalized good times to come, while the opposite is for the members on the other side of this divide.