South-east Group Rejects Doherty as PenCom DG

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  • Asks senate not to clear him

Tobi Soniyi

A civil society organisation, South East Advocacy Group (SEAG), has urged the Senate not to confirm the appointment of Mr. Funsho Doherty as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

The group in a statement described the appointment as a violation of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.
SEAG said the contraventions of Section 20 and Section 21 (a)-(j) of the Act in the removal of the former Director-General (DG) of PENCOM, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, and flagrant breach of Section 21 (2) of the Act for a second consecutive time in the appointment of her successor was an affront on rule of law.

It said the actions had further confirmed a deliberate discriminatory policy against the South-east by the federal government, noting that such actions were responsible for the resurgence of Biafra agitation in the zone.

The statement signed by a legal practitioner and the Deputy National Coordinator of SEAG, Mr. Francis Nwodo, said: “Section 21 (2) of the Pension Act, 2014 clearly provides that ‘In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure’.

“But the presidency first appointed Alhaji Aliyu Dikko from Kaduna State in the North-west as replacement for the removed DG, who hails from the South-east. This resulted in outcry among pension industry stakeholders and the South-east since that appointment was in breach of Section 21(2) of the Pension Act and Section 19 (5) (a).

“We feel more disappointed that whereas Nigerians expected the acting president to uphold the rule to protect the pension industry as a Professor of Law, what he did after his sweet sermon at the colloquium to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of Biafra war on the need to build a country that does not ‘discriminate or marginalise in any way’ was to appoint his brother from the South-west, Funsho Doherty, as the DG of PenCom in clear and continued contravention of the law and exclusion of South-east.”

The group wondered why it was so difficult for the government to appoint a qualified person from the South-east to complete the tenure of Mrs. Anohu-Amazu.

“If this is Osinbajo’s way of building a nation that ‘does not discriminate or marginalise in any way’and sustaining the gains made by the disbanded PenCom leadership, which raised pension assets from N2.9 trillion to N6.5 trillion and won the African Pension Award for three consecutive years, then there is little hope for the Igbos, the pension industry and our progress as a nation,” SEAG emphasised.