N5.7bn pen­sion fund miss­ing in Niger – Gov Bello

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Ahmed Tahir Ajobe, Minna

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.

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