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Nigeria Police Retired Officers Forum flays former IGP for enlisting them into CPS

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Nigeria Police Retired Officers Forum flays former IGP enlisting for them into CPS

The Nigeria Police Retired Officers Forum under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has accused a former Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris (rtd) as being the brain behind their ordeal in the Contributory pensions Scheme.
They said the non-exemption of Nigeria Police Retirees from the Contributory Pension Scheme which has not been in their interest was his sole decision.
Speaking on behalf of the retirees in Abuja after they staged a protest at the National Aseembly recently their legal Adviser, Elder Ofem O. Nbang said,
“The decision was not borne out of patriotism neither was it in the interest of the retired Police Officers, but the then IGP was overwhelmed by the guaranteed position of the Chairmanship of Board of Directors of the NPF Pensions and other interests.
“He sacrificed the interest of Police retirees and serving officers and that of their families for his personal gains. 

“The teleguided representation was selfish and borne out of the fact that the retired IGPs have succeeded to constitute themselves into rotational Chairmen of Board of Directors of the NPF Pensions Limited. 

“Their rotational directorship of the NPF Pensions Limited is extremely detrimental to fair dealing with Police retirees and management of the fund. 

He said their demand is for an exemption from the scheme just like their counterparts in military forces and the Department of State Security Services.

According to him, they also want to be included in the benefit of the debarment allowances which their counterparts in the other security forces like the Army, Navy and the Airforce are enjoying.

During the week, the Police retirees led by carried their protests to the National Assembly with placards that carried inscriptions narrating their ordeal.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: “contributory pensions Scheme a death sentence against Police retirees, President Muhammadu Buhari, come to our aid please, we are dying, PENCOM/NPF pension Don kill us finish, Lumpsum and monthly pension paid to Police retirees are transport money to the grave, National Assembly help us exit from Contributory Pensions Scheme” and so on.

They also presented their written petitions addressed to both the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The legal adviser of the group said the Contributory pensions Scheme was introduced when some of them had spent 21 years, 23 years in service.

“When they introduced the Contributory pensions Scheme in 2004 we were under the old Pensions scheme (benefit) the law was made to be retrogressive.

He said laws are not supposed to be made retrogressively. 

“This is against the provision of Section 173(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) because it alters an existing pension scheme( benefit scheme) to the disadvantage of prospective retirees who have been in service long before the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004.” 

“Laws are made to take effect from when they are made and there after but they made a law to take care of our retirement benefits while we were already twenty something years in service which has subjected us to suffering today. 

“For instance I retired as Deputy Superitendent of Police after 35 years. I was paid what they called lump sum, retirement benefit of N1741, 000 and I am placed on N40,000 pension and that is why many Police officers retire and within one month when they hear of what we are passing through they die of hypertension.

“They exempted the military, they exempted the DSS, what is the reason that the police was not exempted. 

“The major issue that made them to exempt the military, we are also suffering from it, morality rate, work hazards and protection of the territorial integrity of this nation. 

According to him, Police retirees believed they have been badly short changed under the new law as it did not take into consideration the reasonable number of years they had served.

They pleaded that the rational that qualified the Military and the Department of State Services(DSS) for exemption from the Pension Reform Act; should be extended to  the police.

It is the view of the  pensioners’, that the money paid to them as lump sum and monthly pension is “calculated and silent attempt to ensure they die” shortly after retirement.8

On the debarment allowance which Nigerian security agencies like the military, Navy, Army and Airforce have been enjoying except retired Police officers, “We are asking for debarment allowance, it is allowance given to Nigerian security agencies like the military, Navy, Army and Airforce. 

“The reason being that they are well trained and sophisticated handling in security matters, the Police also well trained in the same vein, including ballistic, Explosive operation department, intelligence department.

“All those things, the military were settled because they know if they are not settled they may be exposed for some other person to use them against the security of the nation, we should also be beneficiary to these things.”

He said they want the National assembly to amend the law to exempt the police retirees from Contributory pensions Scheme and pay them all the monies that accrued to them under the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The benefits are running in to trillions of Naira, some of them just retired and they are also suffering but some have enriched themselves while in office and that is why they don’t border about what we are passing through.
“Life is extremely difficult and that is why some policemen retire and within one month they die when they hear about what the retirees are passing through.
“Some developed high blood pressure and collapsed. Some are on wheel chair, some have died”

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Major crisis looms in the health sector as Nigerian doctors down tools

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A major crises in the health sector is about to happen as the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD), have concluded plans to embark on an indefinite strike starting from Monday.
This is happening at a very critical period when the nation is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 infections amid the third wave of the pandemic.
The doctors after their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting attended by over 50 members across the country announced the decision
They explained that the Federal Government have reneged on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with them after over 100 days.
President of the NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, who gave the indication in a statement at the weekend, demanded immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service, which was not implemented.
The statement reads in part, “We are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on August 2, 2021 [Monday]. You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, 2021, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers.

“We had issues with them being non-regular payment and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPS platform.”

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Senator Degi tackles Dickson over alleged inflammatory comments on 3% equity for Host Communities

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Senator representing Bayelsa East, Biobarakuma Wangagha Degi-Eremienyo has cautioned his colleague Senetor Henry Seriake Dickson not to instigate violence in the Niger Delta region by making inflamatory comments that could lead to civil unrest in the area.
Senator Degi was reacting to recent media briefing held by Sen Dickson where he accused the Minister of State Petroleum resources,  Chief Timipre Sylva of reducing the host communities Development funds in the PIB to 3% as against 5% proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Seriaki Dickson had warned of possible consequences if the 3% equity share holding for the Host Communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is not reviewed upward to the 5% that was initially proposed by the senate joint committee on Petroleum resources.
He said the Host Communities were not happy, just as they as leaders were not happy about what played out.

Speaking with the Senate press Corps on Thursday he said the Federal Government cannot afford to contend with another level of unrest and insecurity from the region going by the overwhelming insecurity pervading the northeast for the past 10 years and the North West in the last four years without any workable solution to contain them.

But Senatir Degi said the comments by his counterpart was highly regrettable  considering the tireless efforts put in by the Hon Minister in actualising this long awaited law.
The true story was that the PIB as an executive bill was represented to the National Assembly proposing 2.5% of the total operational cost as host communities development trust funds.
“The lead debate was hot and protracted in both chambers. Lawmakers from the Niger Delta region including myself spoke, argued for upward increase commensurate to our contributions and sacrifices. During the public hearing at various centres, host communities canvassed same postion.
“After rigorous and painstaking process from plenary to conference committee the National Assembly put the host comm funds at 3%.
This was National Assembly decision and not that of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
He expressed dismay how and why Sen Dickson would drag Sylva into the matter.
“Observers would be tempted to ask what efforts he Sen Dickson made to achieve the utmost desired as the bill was presented to NASS when he was still Governor.
“Other Governors  from the region rallied round their people and even  lobbied lawmakers from other regions to support increase in the host com Dev fund. Ex Gov Dickson did nothing as he was contented with spending 13% derivation on aggressive development of his own villages which are not host communities leaving the oil and gas producing, host communities to suffer their fate.
“It’s ridiculous to see him fighting pretentiously for host communities. Dickson lacks moral grounds to criticise or attack Sylva’s innocence.
I can see that Sen Dickson is just being envious, mischievous and intimidated by the astronomically rising profile of Sylva.”

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Nigeria now a failed state with insecurity, dwindling economy, Catholic bishops tell Buhari

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Selective administration of justice by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, has greatly affected the country’s image in the international community, the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have lashed out at President Muhammadu Buhari
The Bishop did not stop there but also lamented over the socio-politico-economic situation adding that the country has lost its soul as it has ceased from being a healthy entity, thus, necessitating the need for recovery.
A healthy nation they observed should the capacity to offer its citizens a territory, where they can feel at home, secure and enjoy the basic necessities of life which they said was no longer the situation in Nigeria.
The bishops, in a communiqué issued on Wednesday at the end of their meeting, which was held at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba, Akure, the Ondo State capital, from July 19 and 20, expressed sadness that the order of the day in Nigeria was “armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry, and extrajudicial killings.”

The bishops noted that the current waves of insecurity in the country are an indication that the government has failed to address the criminal elements causing havoc but rather dissipating energy on silencing lawful citizens.
The communiqué, which was made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Rev Felix Ajakaye, was signed by the province chairman, Most Rev Gabriel Abegunrin, and the secretary, Most Rev Akin Oyejola.
In the communique they expressed sympathy for citizens “who bear the brunt of Nigeria’s debilitating situation because of economic depression and hunger, armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, unemployment and injustice.”
The bishops lamented that the nation under the present administration has lost its soul and that the insecurity pervading the land, dwindling economy, and others are all indices of a failed country needing an urgent revival.
They took a swipe at the Presidency for attacking the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, for his revelations to the United States Congress on the state of things in the country, insisting that Kukah made patriotic and commendable points with verifiable data on the unlawful persecution of Nigerians.
The communiqué reads: “Nigeria, our country, seems to have lost its very soul because it is no longer a healthy entity. The good health of any nation consists in its capacity to offer its citizens a territory where they can feel at home, feel secure and enjoy the basic necessities of life.
“This, unfortunately, is no longer the case in our dear country, Nigeria, where armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry, and extrajudicial killings have become the order of the day. When a nation loses its soul, its people lose the cohesive elements of human relationships. A nation that has lost its soul is characterised by inept and uncaring leadership, which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice. It is characterised by leaders who, rather than care for the citizens of the country, simply exploit and denigrate them.”

On the Presidency’s response to Bishop Kukah, the bishops said: “Bishop Kukah, in his patriotic and frank presentation, called attention to some verifiable data and statistics about the Nigerian situation on that privileged international platform. He spoke for authentic Christians and Muslims who are under persecution. No doubt, he intended to solicit the support of that forum which many Nigerians believe holds the promise of some assistance and relief from our current national crises.
“The Federal Government, however, has characteristically gone up in arms against the person of Bishop Kukah and his purpose. It is commonly said that when there is a problem in a democracy, more democracy is needed to solve it. Sadly enough, our current Federal Government does not seem to subscribe to this.”
Reiterating the right of freedom of expression as stipulated in the constitution, the bishops said for the sake of the nation’s democracy, the right must be protected while the attempt by the National Assembly to amend the press council bill is aimed at gagging the media and the citizens should reject it.
“We declare again, as we have done often in the past, that only the truth can set us free. Nigeria must not allow this to happen! The attempt of the Nigerian National Assembly to silence the press and penalize journalists for merely doing their job is to be completely rejected. We hold that the freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the Constitution, and cannot be alienated by any government, least of all in a democracy.

“For the sake of our democracy, that right, exercised with responsibility, must be protected. We support Bishop Kukah in his effort to unveil the truth about the Nigerian situation in order to ameliorate things. We call on the Nigerian government to learn not to see criticism as an attack or a crime,” they said.
The clerics expressed displeasure at the lawmakers for prioritising the interest of their political parties above the interest of Nigerians on the passage of the amended Electoral Act and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), urging the citizens to challenge the decisions of the National Assembly with all available means.
The Bishops said: “With the National Assembly at various occasions prioritising party and privileges over people’s rights and interest, relief and progress continue to elude Nigerians. Simply put, those who claim to represent the people seem to have perfected the art of sabotaging the progress of their same people.
“Indeed, the time may have come for Nigerians to no longer simply roll over and accept non-representative decisions of the assembly but to challenge them by all legitimate means.”

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