No fewer than 1,000 families of deceased Police officers, owed arrears of pensions and insurance, running into billions of naira, yesterday, stormed Police Headquarters in Abuja, in protest over their outstanding entitlements.
Among the protesters were those whose benefactors were killed in the line of duties and whose money for insurance benefits were seized by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, during the Mr. Tafa Balogun saga as Police Inspector-General.
Vanguard learnt that though EFCC had been directed to release the money, close to N700 million, which had been seized, nothing has so far happened in the matter.
The protesters, who assembled at the police headquarters at 7:30a.m., with placards of various inscriptions, chanted “give us our cheques.”
They said they were incensed on reading an advertisement placed in a national daily by the police in July, asking the prospective beneficiaries to come to Abuja for a “final screening.”
Addressing the protesters at Force Headquarters, Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge Administration, Mr. Suleiman Fakai, assured the next of kins of the deceased police officers that they will soon be paid.
He explained that the delay in payment was due to late release of funds as state commands that were invited to Abuja failed to streamline processes of payment to beneficiaries.
He said: “We had a minor problem because the benefits (pension of dead officers) were not paid and now government has released the money through Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“The pension is for between 2004 and 2010. But unfortunately, the process of streamlining the payment had not been carried out at the state level, so we invited them here to Abuja.”
He admitted that there was communication gap between police authorities and the beneficiaries, noting that they had been prevailed upon to go back to their respective states after completing the process, and await the payment.