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Nigeria Police: Pension Act Amendment Bill Passes Second Reading

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A bill to amend the Pension Reform Act 2014 to provide for the exemption of the Nigeria Police from the contributory pension scheme passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 21st September. In his lead debate, the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive, highlighted section 5 of the Pension Reform Act, which the bill seeks to amend, as exempting the members of the Armed Forces, intelligence and secret services from the contributory pension scheme, but not the police. He stated that in view of the responsibilities of the Nigeria Police, as listed in section 4 of the Police Act 2020, and the police being the frontline security agency in the country, it deserved better treatment and ought to be excluded from the pension scheme like its counterparts in the military and intelligence agencies. Under the amendment, 100 percent of the sum required to be paid into the pension account of a police officer is expected to be borne by the Nigeria Police Force.

Giving instances of the disparity in retirement benefits between the police and other security agencies, Hon. Waive stated that the highest retirement benefit of a Deputy Superintendent of Police stands at N2.5million and that of an Assistant Superintendent of Police is N1.5million, while that of their equivalent in the Army, a Captain is N12.8million. He added that in view of the attendant risks police personnel face as the lead security agents in Nigeria, the amendment if passed, will ensure proper remuneration at retirement and also improved welfare of serving police officers, which will be an incentive for better service delivery.

Retired police officers have staged protests in several parts of the country, including a demonstration at the National Assembly on Tuesday, 21st September, where the pensioners demanded that police officers be removed from the contributory pension scheme to salvage the situation where they receive meagre pensions upon retirement. It will be recalled that one of the demands of the #ENDSARS protests in October 2020, was for improved welfare for police officers.