Retired officers of the Nigeria Police Force, under the auspices of Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, ARPON, under contribution pension scheme, gathered on March 17 in the Ikeja Government Reservation Area, to lament their woes over unpaid entitlements. OpenLife reporter, Joke Ashade, who covered the meeting, reports
“I joined the Nigeria Police Force at the age of 18. I spent 35 years and retired at age 53. I spent all my youthful and creative energies serving the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, protecting life and property. That I have to be involved in this struggle to get my pension paid will not be encouraging to the younger generation that would like to serve this country. There was even a very pathetic case of a widow who was sent packing out of the Barracks after the death of her husband. Is that how to reward a woman who supported her husband to render patriotic service of protecting lives? In my own case, I have nothing to show for my dedication to service. I am being owed pension by government and nothing is being done about it. How do I manage to put food on the table, pay children tuition fees including clothes and health?”
The above statement was the lamentation of Rosemary Oboton Bong, a retired Superintendent of Police, SP, at the March 17 meeting retired officers of the Nigeria Police Force, under the auspices of Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, ARPON, which held at 13, Michael Ogun Street, off Ghana Embassy, GRA, Ikeja.
Oboton Bong’s lamentation was re-echoed by other police retirees in attendance. According to the retired officers, the meeting was held to remind the government about their unpaid entitlements as a police officer retirees.
Vice Chairman of the association, DSP Anyamuka Iginatius stated that things are getting out of hands for the retirees. Therefore, government, as a matter of urgency, should give serious attention to the plight of the retirees. “It was not that our salary, while in service, was big. What we hoped for was this pension that is not being paid” he lamented.
The pensioners, some of who are being owed as far back as 2015, could not understand why military retirees could be victims of unpaid entitlements when the President of Nigeria is a retiree himself.
The Public Relations Officer, PRO, of the association, retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Patrick Eteng, disclosed that the reason the association resorted to public outcry is as a result of failed attempts to draw government attention to their plight saying that “All the series of efforts in writing and calls to the authorities concerned failed to yield results. We are suffering. We have bills to pay. We therefore use this public opportunity, once again, to remind government of their obligations to us who served the government of Nigeria meritoriously,” he stated.
The association Provost, retired DSP Lucky Onoiribhobo stated that while in service, some monies were always deducted on monthly basis from their salaries, claiming that as of that time, they were told the monies were meant for housing, healthcare. “Now, we are retired. Where is the money? This is one matter the government cannot ignore. We need urgent attention. We are calling on the National Assembly to help us look into this,” he pleaded.
While responding to the request of the retired officers for legal action against the government, Femi Falana Chamber maintained that while it is unfair of government to delay pension of retirees, a probe panel should be set up to investigate the reason for delayed pension, adding that 35 years of sweat should not be left unrewarded financially.