Retired Police Officers Protest in Akwa Ibom over Payment of Benefits

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By Okon Bassey in Uyo

More than 200 retired police officers in Akwa Ibom State yesterday protested moves by the police hierarchy to cut their entitlement after 35 years in service, including pension and gratuities.

At a media chat in Uyo, the state capital, the affected police officers said they left service between January 2017 and July 2018 after clocking the retirement age.

A spokesman of the group, ASP Philip Akpan (rtd), said at the level of retired Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), each of them are entitled to nothing less than N10million with corresponding monthly pension payments after 35 years in service.

He complained that rather than paying them their legitimate entitlement, they are being compelled to accept a paltry N1.2 million contrary to the terms of service agreement signed upon their enlistment into the Nigerian Police Force.

Specifically he alleged that officials of Police Pension Fund short changed them as the process lack of transparency especially as they were given multi fund structure consent form instead of consent form.

He explained further that the multi fund structure form does not state how much a retired police officer was entitled to against the normal practice of issuing out consent form which stipulates categories of payment structure.

According to him, “The problem we have now is that we got a text message that we should come to the police headquarters in Uyo to sign a consent form. On arrival, they issued us with multi form structure consent form.

“When we checked through, we did not see a stipulated amount to be paid. All that we know is that in consent form, we are used to the amount to be paid which is usually stipulated. For instance, if I am taking N10million as my gratuity, further amount to be paid to me as pension may be between N20,000 and N25,000.

“But if I decided to take N7million, I may have up to N30, 000 per month as my pension. I can reduce it to may be N6million or N5million and I will take up N50,000 as pension.

“But for now, the multi form structure has not stated the categories of payment rather they said they have already signed the form for us in Abuja. I am not a novice, I cannot take that and it is unacceptable.”

Also speaking, ASP Effiong Umoren (rtd) alleged that the police authorities have seized the money contributed to the contributory pension scheme for which 2.5 person of their salary was deducted since 2014.

He blamed the situation to the time the police took over the payment of pension from the private pension administrators, maintaining that the retired police officers got their due entitlements under the former regime of independent pension administrators.

“In 2014 they said it should be contributory pension and we started contributions with different pension fund administrators. I belong to Trustfund and before retirement, I had contributed N2.6million to the fund, and the police took over.

“Now the police are coming to pay less than what I contributed which I don’t accept it. If they don’t want to add anything to my contribution, let them give me the N2.6million that I contributed and I will go with it.

“We belonged to different pension funds administrators before the police authorities decided to transfer us to police pension fund. The police started payment from January 2017 and that is why we have this problem because they have not paid the normal amount.

  “As ASP upwards, we should not take less than N10million. But now giving me N1.2million is unacceptable and I will not take it,” he stated.

 He added: “We want the IG and whoever is in charge of pension administration to reverse it to the former regime and give us the consent form to sign before our money is given to us.”