The disagreement between the Senate and the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, continued on Sunday, with the taskforce dismissing the Senate committee’s report on pension as fictitious. The team stated that the report of the Senate Pension Probe Committees, chaired by Senator Aloysius Etok (Establishment and Public Service) and Senator Kabiru Gaya (State and Local Government Administration) was unfounded.
The PRTT, in a statement in Abuja by its spokesperson, Mr. Hassan Salihu, specifically said the committees had “grossly misinformed and misled the entire Senate with a fictitious report muddled up with a multitude of naked untrue and misleading unjustifiable conclusions”. According to him, the allegations against the PRTT on misappropriation of pension funds are baseless and untrue. He said, “These spurious allegations are the product of Etok – Gaya Senate Pension Probe Committee, which bitterly hates the PRTT with an intense emotion. There are no established facts to support all these allegations.
“It is important for Nigerians to equally know that since the inauguration of the pension team in June 2010 to date, the National Assembly has never appropriated one naira for the PRTT in its Appropriation Acts of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Where and how the PRTT could have misappropriated funds, when nothing has been appropriated to it by the National Assembly?”
Explaining that the PRTT was not a statutory body, Salihu said the Head of Service had the exclusive rights for expenditure of his office. According to him, all financial or material engagements of the PRTT are subject to approvals from the HoS. He said, “The PRTT only deals with paper works to compute pensioners’ entitlements, after which it then sends it to the HOS for approval.
Nigerians should note that the PRTT is not in custody of recovered funds; the recoveries are executed by anti-graft agencies, where applicable. In his reaction, the Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Investigations into Pensions Administration in Nigeria, Senator Aloysius Etok, said the report was based on verifiable facts. Meanwhile, the Coalition of Nigerians Youth Organisations, has faulted the Senate over the call to sack the Chairman, Pension Reform Task Force, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina. An electronic statement by the group on Sunday described the call by the senate, which urged President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Maina as an abuse of legislative process.
The statement was signed by an ex-President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Etuk Bassey-Williams and Messrs Uche Okafor, Segun Ojo, Splendor Agbonkpolor and Ibrahim Abubakar, who represent various youth groups.