A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Electricity workers call for transparency in Pension Fund probe

24 July 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – NIGERIA’s electricity workers praised Federal Government efforts at discovering how the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, Pension Scheme funds disappeared.

The government recently set up an investigative panel into the disappearance of the funds totaling N200 billion

The workers, under the umbrella of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, urged that the the probe should be conducted openly and under camera coverage as was the case with the police pension investigation.

Joe Ajaero, general secretary of NUEE, in a statement, faulted the appointment of Dr. Sam Agbogun as a member and secretary of the Panel, claiming that “as a former Executive Director of PHCN that may be under investigation, it would be hypocritical to allow him to serve in the Committee”.

The statement further read: “While we commend the efforts of the Government in this regard, we take exception to the appointment of Dr. Sam Agbogun as a member and Secretary of the Panel. The reason is not far-fetched. Agbogun is currently enjoying arguably illegal Pensions, which may have contributed to the Pension scam.

“He stands to make biased contributions. As a former Executive Director of PHCN that may be under investigation, it would be hypocritical to allow him to serve in this Committee. Besides, his retirement, pension and salary while on retirement should be areas of coverage by the probe panel.

“While the other members of the Committee are not known, one Nick Agbo is equally not acceptable to us for credibility and transparency to play out. Prior to now he has made comments and pronouncements that cast doubt on his impartiality. He is biased and has disdain for Nigerian workers.”.

The union further noted that the funding of the PHCN Superannuation Fund is not from the federation account but rather a product of contributory scheme of 25 per cent of workers’ monthly emoluments.

It warned that the investigation of the pension scam should not be a distraction to the payment of workers’ contribution, warning that any attempt to short-change workers would be resisted.

“Whereas, the action of the Government may be seen as a step in the right direction, we wish to reiterate the need for open investigation of the Pension Scam. We therefore wish to state that this investigation should not be a distraction to the payment of our contributed 25 per cent. Any attempt to substitute our contributed 25 per cent with 15 per cent would be resisted,” the statement added.

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