Aggrieved workers of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the sack of the Commission’s Director-General, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu.
They threatened to shut down the Agency if she was not reinstated “immediately.”
According to a staff who asked not to be named in print for obvious reasons, “Mrs. Anohu-Amazu’s ouster is politically motivated despite the fact that she has turned around the fortunes of the hitherto moribund pension industry which, before her appointment, was growing at a very low rate compared to the immense innovations and international best practices inherent in the pension industry today.”
“The pension asset since the enactment of the Act 2004 to 2014 stood at 2.5 trillion in 10 years and the DG within her 3 years short stay has been able to raise the pension assets to 6.5 trillion. A reflection of the indices shows that she has been able to achieve more prior to her appointment as the DG of the commission. “How can such a proactive and dynamic young manager of people be removed, they queried.’
“Industry operators are worried that her sudden removal will destroy the sector and jeopardise the confidence of pensioners in the system and stifle investors’ confidence in the industry.”
They regretted that “at a time, our country is witnessing economic recession, the pension industry has given our financial system a boost by ensuring that pensioners collect their entitlements as at when due; it has also rekindled the hopes and aspirations of workers, investors and shareholders, in addition to growing the economy for the much-needed relief.”
They alleged that the federal government did not follow due process in relieving her of her appointment, saying: “Before the incumbent head of PenCom is relieved of his/her appointment, he/she ought to have been written.”
They lamented that the new appointment “runs contrary to the spirit and letters of Part 5, section 21(1) and (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, and, therefore, it is null and void.”
“Ordinarily and statutorily, the former DG ought to have been written formally by the authorities, but sadly in her own case the reverse is the case.”
They further alleged that she was being crucified “because she is a woman and from the South-east geopolitical zone.” If not how can a DG that has so much passion for the pension industry and has concluded plans to bring-in the informal sector to be part of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to be removed just like that without looking at her achievements? She should be given a pat on the back instead of removal.
“It is also our belief that some members of a certain cabal whose concern is to feather their selfish interests are taking advantage of Mr. President’s ill-health to feather their nest.”
They noted that her tenure, the organisation witnessed “an unprecedented boost in staff welfare and morale, in addition to human capital development,” and wondered why she would be unceremoniously removed.
According to them, her zero-tolerance for corruption may have led to her ouster and as some vested interest keen on hijacking key agencies of government were unhappy with her transparency and dogged commitment to President Buhari’s crusade against corruption.
Industry watchers lamented that the appointment of a new DG “runs afoul of all known principles and ethics of best management practices as operators are now being made the regulators by this new appointment and which is against the PenCom Act as stipulated in Part 5, section 19, 5(A&B) respectively, alleging that those who made the appointments were not properly guided.”
It was gathered that it was also on this premise that the staff, industry operators and stakeholders are aggrieved that the said appointment does not follow due process and as such cannot continue the massive transformation of PenCom by Anohu-Amazu, whose sole ambition was to drive the industry to the greatest height.
A pensioner, Chief Chibuike Aloze, regretted that “a very hard working woman of substance and impeccable character with high level of professionalism that has taken the pension industry to a higher pedestal can just be removed before her tenure expired.” He added, this can be political and that sensitive agencies of government should not be used to play politics.”
Another retiree, Malam Hassan Maikudi, regretted that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) that pays Nigeria’s retirees their benefits as at when due is now been politicized and dragged backwards to look like the old scheme that gave birth to the CPS. He further stated that no wonder the federal government was not releasing the pension accrued rights to PenCom to enable them pay the benefits of those that retired since 2015.This could be deliberate , he alluded and asked “What is the hope of retirees and pensioners in Nigeria now the wolves have taken over the pension sector?” “The high level of management dexterity and patriotism exhibited by Mrs. Anohu-Amazu has been rubbished by her sudden removal.”