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FG releases N54bn to settle pension backlog

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The Federal Government has released N54 billion to clear part of the backlog of accrued pension rights of retirees for the year 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Director of Information, Ministry of Finance, Mr Salisu Danbatta said in a statement on Wednesday that N41.5 billion had already been released to the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

Danbatta quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun as saying that she released N12.5 billion being outstanding for January, February and March 2017 bringing the total to about N54 billion.

The amount released was for onward payment to those who retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme and were yet to be paid.

It will be recalled that all Federal Government workers commenced the monthly Contributory Pension Scheme in 2004, in line with the Pension Reform Act.

The money the Federal Government now owes its workers before the commencement of the act, is recognised in form of the issuance of Federal Government Retirement Benefits Bonds.

Upon retirement of an employee, the bonds are to be liquidated and added to the balance of the retirement savings account of an employee to get the total amount he or she is entitled to.

To ensure that government settles backlog of accrued rights, Pension Fund Administrators are not allowed to grant retirees access to their retirement savings until the Federal Government releases the accrued rights component.

This means that a retiree cannot access his or her Retirement Savings Account (RSA) through the Pension Funds Administrators without the accrued pension rights component.

So for Public Service workers who migrate to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004, shortly before they retired, they are entitled to two components of retirement benefit.

That is the contributions accumulated in their RSA and their accrued right from the time they joined the service to the time they migrated to CPS.

According to the statement, despite conflicting demands for available cash, President Muhammadu Buhari has always expressed concern over the plight of workers and pensioners.

“Consistent with this, we have released N41.5 billion which clears the arrears inherited from the previous administration relating to the period 2013-15 and underpayments in 2016.

“This will bring relief to thousands of our elders, who have served and deserve to be paid their entitlements promptly and fully,” Adeosun was quoted as saying.

The minister said that the amount paid also included arrears of those who retired as far back as 2013 and had been unable to access their pension under the contributory scheme due to non-payment.

To avoid future accumulation of pension arrears, Adeosun said that henceforth, “the monthly allocation to the PENCOM based on the appropriation of 2017 will regularly be paid along with monthly salaries of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

The federal public servants, who retired since January 2016, had recently staged a protest at the Federal Ministry of Finance building in Abuja over their unpaid pension to the tune of N200 billion.

The retirees under the auspices of the League of Federal Service Contributory Pension Retirees led by the Coordinator, Mr Chike Ogbechie said that workers who have retired in the last 15 months were yet to receive their pension.

In reaction to the fund release, Mr Ogbechie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the N54 billion will clear much of the backlog of their pension, but not all. “So the struggle still continues,” he said.

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Why PMB did not attend the Presidential debate – FESTUS KEYAMO

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari


WHY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI DID NOT ATTEND THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ORGANISED BY THE NIGERIA ELECTION DEBATE GROUP AND THE BROADCASTING ORGANISATIONS OF NIGERIA

The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

FESTUS KEYAMO,SAN, FCIArb (UK)
Director, Strategic Communications,
APC Presidential Campaign Council.
(Official Spokesperson).

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*#We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate* – Atiku

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…I regret that I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.

*We came here for a Presidential debate, not a candidacy debate , and I, Atiku Abubakar can not challenge or question an administration where the man at the helm of the affairs of the nation is not present to defend himself or his policies. After all you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.*

I do not believe in attacking a man who is NOT here to defend himself. As a leader and former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, let me first apologise to all Nigerians, my fellow candidates and the moderator for the the APC Presidential Candidates absence in this debate. His non-appearance is a slight on ALL of us and our democracy.

*Secondly, with all due respect to my fellow candidates, Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and to the moderator Mark Sugar and with apologies to all Nigerians here and at home expecting an interesting debate, I regret that I will not be able to go on with this debate due to President Buhari’s absence.*

I however challenge President Buhari to choose a date and time for a debate where he will be present and I will be there, hopefully with the other candidates as well.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

– Atiku Abubakar

*#ComeOutAndVote*

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Atiku returns to Nigeria

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Welcome Back Atiku

Welcome Back Atiku

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has returned to Nigeria.

Atiku left for the United States on Thursday.

Atiku’s plane touched down at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja around 3:30pm.

Meanwhile, the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) will hold today, Saturday January 19, in Abuja.

The debate is scheduled to hold by 7pm at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, the same venue where the vice-presidential debate held on Friday, December 14, 2018.

It will be transmitted live on all BON member stations and its affiliates and streamed live on all social media platforms.

Only five political parties have been selected to participate.

They are: the Allied Congress Party Of Nigeria (ACPN), the Alliance For New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and The Young Progressive Party (YPP).

This means the candidates expected at the debate are President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu.

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