Police Pension Board Bill: Who Is Drumming For Rufai’s Dance?
By Adewole Kehinde
While the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, was commending the National Assembly for its historic passage of the Police Pension Board Bill and the Nigeria Police Force College, Training School, and Institution (Establishment) Bill on June 6, 2023, one Rufai Oseni of Arise TV was busy kicking against it.
There is broad agreement that the police are at a disadvantage when it comes to welfare and compensation.
Nevertheless, they are burdened with the onerous task of not only defending the lives and property of the populace but also guarding against, identifying, and pursuing criminal activity.
Many police officers have died while attempting to maintain law and order, leaving behind dependents who are not properly cared for. Therefore, the motivation behind the push for the exemption is poignant and is understood by many astute Nigerians.
The main focus of the protest is better welfare for police officers, both active and retired.
A police officer who is certain of a comfortable retirement life is obligated to give his all while serving. Therefore, it is not only in his best interest—which is what the Contributory Pension Scheme is all about—to secure the necessary guarantees for a better tomorrow; it is also, in the long run, for the benefit of society as a whole.
Because of this, the public hearing gave lawmakers yet another exceptional chance to reexamine the fundamental problems related to the welfare and well-being of Nigerian Police Force officers and the members of their families.
I still don’t know why the police were left on the Contributory Pension Scheme, unlike the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Air Force, Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), and the Department of State Security (DSS), which had their pension boards.
The Nigeria Police were subsequently included in the National Pension Commission and have remained there ever since, which has put them in a disadvantageous position regarding post-service compensation. In addition to guarding the citizens’ lives and property, the Nigerian police are tasked with identifying and averting criminal activity.
According to the sponsor of the Police Pension Board, Senator Elisha Abbo (Adamawa-North), he said, “A cursory look at the difference between the pension and gratuity benefits of the Nigeria police and her counterpart in the military shows, for example, that the benefit of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) under the current Pension Scheme is N2.5 million. That of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) is N1.5 million.
“While their equivalents of DSP in the Army (Captain), Navy (Lieutenant), Air Force (Flight Lieutenant), and DSS (Captain) are paid N12.8 million and N10.3 million, respectively.”
I concurred with Senator Elisha Abbo that officers of the Nigeria Police were being treated unfairly.
Those who want Nigeria’s police officers to perform excellently by serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protecting the innocent, keeping the peace, and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice will never kick against the Police Pension Board.
The police needed a separate board to manage and administer the pensions of retired police officers like the Military Pension Board.
So I was shocked to watch Rufai Oseni of Arise TV condemn this timely Police Pension Board Bill, and that gave me the conclusion that some agencies must be beating the drum for his dancing style, which I am not surprised by!
Adewole Kehinde is a Public Affairs Analyst based in Abuja and can be reached at 08166240846.