Retired police officers
From Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Retired police officers from the South-east and South-south geo-political zones of the country yesterday asked the Federal Government to use the recently recovered money from the police pension probe to settle their pensions and gratuity, insisting that they are the real owners of the “loot”.
The officers, who retired as a result of the 1967 Nigeria civil war, claimed that their pensions and gratuities were stolen from them by the pension managers who refused to pay them since they were granted amnesty by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 2000.
In a Save-our-Soul letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, one 68 years old affected police pensioner from Enugu State, Raphael Mberede Okpara, said they hinged their claim on the premised that the police joined PENCOM in 2004. He also said greater security challenge awaits Nigeria as he claimed that police men are no longer entitled to pension.
The danger, he alerted, is that the police who are given guns to protect the citizenry and are not paid pensions would turn around to use it against the society.
Okpara, who broke down in tears while speaking, narrated that when the over 113 war affected retired police officers from Enugu State came for payment on November 12, 2007, the pay officers from police pension fund turned them back home with the excuse that the cheque leaves they came with were not the right ones. “That was how the money of about 2,000 retired war affected police officers was stolen,” he alleged.
Part of the petition reads: “we did not hear from police pensions until 31 months later. By the month of July 2011, we were invited for capture of bio-data. We know that the invitation was based on order to pay us. The aim of this letter is to remind you that retired war affected police officers are more entitled to the money recovered from the pensions fund ‘thieves’ than any other group. We are crying out to you as our President to save us from those who swore that we will never have access to our money.
“Our colleagues in the army received their gratuity and pension arrears last October and now receive their pensions. Please let the office of the presidency or office of the secretary to the government of the federation be electronically informed when our money is put into our accounts. Our E-payment numbers and account numbers were in bio data forms we filled. We are really scared of the staff of police pension office.”