The Nigerian Senate, yesterday, ordered that the Chairman, Pension Task Team,
Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, John Yusuf, B.G. Kaigama and all the
members of the team be sacked, and that the Inspector-General of Police
Abubakar Mohammed must immediately arrest and prosecute them.
According to the Senate, the order became imperative following their
involvement in fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation, misapplication,
illegal virement, contract splitting, award of contract to non existing
companies, award of contract without appropriations and outright stealing of
pension funds. The Senate said the stolen funds must be recovered from them.
The Senate which also identified N43.21 billion of Police Pensions which
were unspent said it should be mopped up by the Accountant General of the
Federation and returned to the Pensions Arrears Account, adding: “Where the
funds could not be traced, the accounting officer should be held
The resolutions of the Senate came after discussions on the Senator Aloysius
Etok-led Joint Committee of Establishment and Public Service and States and
Local Government which investigated the payment of pensioners and
management/administration of pension funds in Nigeria.
The committee also revealed that N1.025 trillion was received by all the
pension offices between 2005 and 2011, but only N751.444 billion was spent
within the period, leaving a balance of N273.941 billion.
Senate adopts c’ttee recommendation
Also yesterday, the Senate while describing those involved in the pension
scam as guilty of blood of those who had lost their lives struggling to
receive their retirement benefits, however, adopted the recommendation of
the committee that “the unspent balance of pension funds to the tune of
N58,715,239.66 should be mopped up by the Accountant General of the
Federation and transferred to the pension arrears with the Central Bank of
Nigeria. Where the funds could not be traced in such accounts, the
accounting officer should be held responsible.”
In his comment, vice chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, who noted that
the records of the balance of N58.715billion was still missing at the office
of the Head of Service, said: “Within six years, the Head of the Civil
Service received a total of N216 billion as pensions. It only spent N154
billion, remaining a balance of N58.7 billion.
“We made efforts to get records of the balance of N58.7 billion throughout
the period of the investigation and we did not get any.”
He noted that about N1.76 billion earmarked for the settlement of the
families of dead pensioners was diverted by officials of the Head of
Service to recurrent expenditure, leaving the families without the benefits.
Mark, Ndoma-Egba rain curses
Angered by the development where money which belonged to pensioners were
embezzled, Senate President David Mark who rained curses on those involved,
said: “Anybody who has been involved in this thing is not God-fearing. He is
just somebody moving around in the midst of human beings. This to me is not
just a monumental fraud but also a national disgrace and embarrassment,
whether it is to living or dead Nigerians that we could have this level of
fraud, the system is totally unacceptable. We will also insist that our
recommendations are implemented.
“None of these recommendations is close to the punishment that they deserve.
But as human beings, we have just made our recommendations and hope that the
Almighty God will see them to hell.”
Also reacting and vexed by the level of corruption and inhumanity to man
nature, Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba said: “I have always
suspected that things are bad in this country. I have always been an
optimist, but today I cannot say that anyone of us here can say that he
knows that things are this bad. I have friends who are pensioners. My father
retired from the Court of Appeal over 20years ago and my younger brother
goes to sign for his pensions. He was standing in front of the records and
saw over N7 million written against my father’s name, he was forced to sign
for N5 million. That is the pension of a retired Justice of the Court of
Appeal, whose son, by God’s grace, is today is the Senate Leader of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Nobody was afraid to take N2 million from his pension, so you can imagine
what lesser mortals have gone through in the hands of the people who are
appointed to save this situation but they ended up being principalities
”That is blood money and blood money is a cursed money, not only on them
but on their children’s children, it is a curse on them no matter what they
Briefing Journalists, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and
Publicity, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who said that Maina must appear before
the Senate when it resumes, warned that if he fails, the upper chamber would
be forced to issue warrant of arrest, adding that he must be brought to book
along side others.