The House of Representatives has recommended to the federal government the retention of the Adbulrahsheed Maina-led Pension Reform Task Force, whose activity led to the recovery of stolen pension funds worth millions of Naira.
The House said it was impressed by the work of the task team, which has recovered several billions of Naira, which was either stolen or misappropriated by certain individuals and groups involved in pension administration in the country.
The House of Representatives Committee on Pension, which has been probing the activities of task force and other agencies saddle with pension matters in Nigeria and the Diaspora, made the recommendation in a letter it sent to the Head of Service of the Federation.
The letter, with reference No. NASS/7HR/CT.68/05 and dated April 19, 2012 and addressed to the Head of Service of the Federation, was signed by the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Pension, Hon. Ibrahim Bawa Kamba.
In the letter entitled, “Need to Design a Humane Pension Policy”, the committee noted that the Maina-led task force had succeeded in stemming the tide of pension fraud and recorded a milestone in recovering misplaced/misappropriated pension funds.
Part of the letter, which was copied the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the NSA, the IGP, the NIA and the SSS, read: “That, as a matter of national interest, the PRTT should be retained as a ‘Standing Pension Reform Task Team’ which the federal government could deploy at any given moment to solve peculiar ‘knotty’ cases across the MDAs in the face of incessant complaints before the House Committee on Pensions.”
It pointed out that the lingering NPA pension abuse petition, which it had not been able to resolve over the years, could be taken over by the task force with a view to investigating it further.
“That the PRTT should, as a matter of urgent public importance, commence immediate collation/down-loading of all the data from the remaining Diaspora centres for immediate payments to pensioners whose biometric data had been captured so as to cushion the effect of their suffering over the years.
The committee listed the centres where biometric capturing had been concluded and where payment should be effected without further delay, as Atlanta, USA, Saudi Arabia, London and Ghana/South Africa centres.
The committee also recommended that the pension task team should be directed to commence the pension reform of the remaining MDAs so as to recover the much needed funds for the federal government in line with the President’s transformation agenda.
It is not clear if the Senate Committee on Pension, which has been having a running battle with the Maina-led PRTT, will also recommend its retention by the federal government.
Senator Aloysius Etok, who heads the committee had once asked the Inspector General of Police to arrest Maina over alleged misappropriation of recovered pension funds, but the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has consistently praised the PRTT chairman, saying that he recovered over N74 billion of stolen pension funds.