The police is also embarking on a series of other welfare reforms
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, on Saturday said the Nigeria Police Force would soon pull out of the general pension fund administration in the country and establish its own pension funds.
Mr. Abubakar made the disclosure when he presented the the Police scorecard for 2013 in Asaba. He noted that the police authorities were conscious of the fact that for policemen to be efficient, their welfare during and after service must be taken serious.
He revealed that the Police had secured a mandate to pull out of the general pension fund administration as it could now administer and operate its own pension funds.
The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, recently hinted that the police high command would soon come up with its own scheme because many policemen were not satisfied with the way the existing Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, handled their pension, hence the support given to the decision of the IGP to set a pension administration for the force.
The Nigeria Police Pension Funds was recently rocked by a controversial illegal diversion of over N40 billion from the fund by officials in charge.
The IGP assured that every pension account with existing PFAs would be transferred to the new police pension scheme. He said that the new police pension scheme would ensure that every retired police officer got his pension payment when due.
Mr. Abubakar noted that the Police was one of the biggest organisations in Nigeria in terms of staff size. “The management of police pension needs has become cumbersome, leading to various inefficiencies our retirees are experiencing from existing service providers.
“It is fair to say that when it comes to police pensions, morale is low. You may recall the recent experience of retired police officers affected by the task force verification exercise, which left many of our retirees still not captured in the payroll. This discomforting news should not be allowed to impede and demoralise serving officers.”
The IGP said that the PFA, which would be designed and operated in line with the Pensions Reform Act (2004), would address specific issues to ensure that the current challenges associated with police pensioners was history.
The State Security Service and the Nigerian Army both opted out of the Contributory Pension Scheme to set up their own PFAs.
The National Pension Commission sought the support of the Federal Government to deny approval to any sector desiring to opt out of the Contributory Pension Scheme, just as the police and other para-military and military forces are doing.
Mr. Abubakar also revealed that the force had also secured the sum of N5 billion to operate its own mortgage bank.
This, he noted, was in addition to the ongoing efforts to complete 2, 250 housing units in Abuja for officers by the end of December.
“We believe that the officers and men of the Police Force should have their own houses. By the end of this year, we would have completed a total of 2,250 housing units in Abuja for the officer and men of the force.
“We would also ensure that our officers and men are insured because of the challenging job they do,” he said.
He pointed out that police officers needed good salary and other welfare packages to encourage them to remain focused when performing their duties.
Speaking on promotions, Mr. Abubakar said, “When we assumed office, 100,000 were not promoted to next levels, but as we speak, 75,000 of them have been promoted. We are currently working toward promoting the remaining 35,000 to their new ranks.”
He urged the officers to be obedient, and respect the right of the people and the law.
Mr. Abubakar said the challenge of unemployment, poverty and the widening gap between the rich and the poor were some the factors contributing to the rising crime wave in the country.
“These factors make it difficult for people to see what the Nigerian Police is doing to check crimes in the country,’’ he said.