To many Nigerians, the edge that the civil service has over the private sector is that government jobs are pensionable. Over time however, the standard of living of a good number of pensioners have dropped below the average line. The sight of most of those who served the country in their prime is pitiable and complaints abound on how many of them are owed the meagre amounts that accrue to them as pension. Some are not paid for months.
Many have grown frail and sick with no other means of taking care of themselves save the pension which has become irregular. Many have even died in the process of waiting endlessly to collect pensions.
When the government decided to reform the pension scheme, not a few civil servants and retirees were happy that at last, salvation was near. Street Journal has however found out that things have not really changed for the better as envisaged by the retired civil servants. To worsen the situation, the corruption bug has adversely affected the officials that were put in charge of pensions by the government as recent developments have shown.
The Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is presently looking into the massive looting that has gone on unnoticed in some of the pension offices. According to Abdulrasheed Maina, the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, a senior civil servant in the pension unit at the office of the Head of Service was caught with N2 billion stashed in his private residence when members of the team paid him a visit in the course of investigating frauds in the unit.
He also disclosed that a total of N151billion which would have been looted by officials managing the pension funds has been recovered. The team’s Chairman also disclosed that another thieving civil servant who stashed a pile of dollars in his house was nabbed.
He disclosed that the arrested offenders will be prosecuted soon.