N5.7bn pension fund missing in Niger – Gov Bello
Aforensic audit by the Niger State Government to determine the whereabouts of the alleged missing N6.6 billion pension fund has reported that N5.779 billion was not remitted to the pension board.
In an address at a workshop yesterday in Minna, Governor Sani Bello disclosed that the unremitted fund was part of the 7.5 percent employer/employee deductions made on behalf of the Niger State Universal Basic Education and Local Government Areas between 2007 and March 2015.
Our correspondent learnt that the last administration suspended the 7.5 employer/employee contributions for both state and local governments in March 2015. The development, which was described by labour leaders as a policy somersault, triggered unrest across the state as retirees caught in the web could not access their fund from the pension administrators.
Governor Bello who was represented at the workshop of yesterday by his deputy, Ahmad Muhammad Ketso, said the government had set up a committee to ensure that the “stolen funds are recovered to the coffers of government for the benefit of workers.”
However, reacting to the allegation, spokesman of former Governor Muazu Babaginda Aliyu, Mr. Israel Ebije, said the pension issue was being politicized by the present administration. Ebije who spoke to our correspondent on phone, said prompt payment of pension and gratuity was one of the outstanding legacies of the former government.
“It was public knowledge that we inherited backlog of pension arrears, which we strived relentlessly to redeem. It is wrong to embark on rhetoric and bandied figures without commensurate proof. We advise the present administration to check its records very well,” he said.