The National Judicial Council (NJC) says it has paid 80 per cent of pension arrears owed to retirees of federal judiciary between 2013 and date.
The executive secretary of the council, Ahmed Saleh, disclosed this on Monday shortly after inspecting enrolment for retirees of the federal judiciary from Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna states.
He said payment of monthly pension and outstanding arrears has been one of his top priorities areas since his assumption of office.
“When I assumed office in 2017, I didn’t mince words,” he said. “I made it clear that pension administration is one of my priority areas and as such all operational and structural frameworks must be put in place to ensure timely and prompt payment of monthly pension, clear outstanding arrears of pension owed, have a reliable and accurate data of pensioners and deployment of a robust platforms to detect and do away with ghost pensioners,”
“The pension administration in NJC has recorded remarkable achievements since my assumption. These include introduction of e-monitoring solution to the accounting processes, -voucher, introduction of Direct Data Capture machine, computerised computation system and contributory pension module that will aid in minimizing errors or omissions in preparation of remittance to pension fund administrators,” Mr. Saleh revealed.
The executive secretary added that the council has set up a data base centre for the pension department and organised series of pre-retirement training for the staff of federal judiciary with the sole aim of preparing them for the life after service.
He said the council had also established a toll-free complaint line where pensioners will for free to lodge complaints.
Mr. Saleh said the administration of pension of federal judicial officers was transferred to the National Judicial Council via the Pension Rights of Federal judicial officer ( administration of pension) Act 2007.
He explained that with the enactment of the act, the NJC was mandated to cater for funding of its pension costs through budgetary process which hitherto was being handled by the office of the head of civil service of the federation.
“In 2013, the National Pension Commission also transferred the administration of accrued
rights of all federal judiciary staff to the NJC and thereby making it the responsibility of NJC to source the funding of all accrued rights of federal judiciary staff.
“Consequent upon this His Lordship, the Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Ononghen approved the upgrading of the pension unit to a full fledged department,” the Executive Secretary revealed.
An enrollee from Court of Appeal Kaduna, Asabe Bawa, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise.
Before the advent of 2004 Pension Act, pension administration in Nigeria was bedevilled by challenges ranging from inadequate funding and misappropriation of pension funds to delays in payment of benefits, lack of authentic records of pensioners, existence of ghost pensioners among others.