*Good efforts in right direction – Hon Ngozika Ihuoma
House of Representatives Tuesday resolved to probe the activities of the Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina led Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, between 2010 and 2013.
Specifically, the House seeks to probe the utilisation of about N200billion recovered by the Task Force, during the leadership of its former Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina.
To this end, the House has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate activities of the Task Force from 2010 to the time of its dissolution in 2013 and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.
The investigation will also be extended to and all the successor agencies.
The member representing Balanga/Billiri federal constituency of Gombe state, Hon. Ali Isa JC, in a motion titled ‘all to investigate the current situation of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms,’ explained that the Presidential Task Force on Pensions Reform was created in June 2010 with the main objective of tracking and recovering pensions of all public service retirees.
According to the motion the Task Force became embroiled in widespread allegations of looting of pension funds and has been unable to account for more than N200 billion as a result of which the Task Force was dissolved in February, 2013 in very controversial circumstances.
According to the motion, the Task Force took charge of the Police and the Head of Service Pension Funds and that more than N20 billion was alleged to have been recovered from various banks and also that more than 75,000 ghost pensioners were paid while genuine pensioners were left unattended to.
He observed that since the dissolution of the Task Force, the public had not been duly informed of what became of the billions of Naira recovered by the Task Force.
It would also be recalled that about N74billion was approved by the National Assembly to fund the 2013 budget. However, another N35billion was allegedly stolen from the pension office of the Head of Service.
Some of the 46 pensions suspects caught by the Abdulrasheed Maina task force are still standing trial in various courts of the land.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Legislative Watch, a civil society organisation that has been in the forefront of pension rights in the country, Hon Ngozika Ihuoma has described the latest development as worth the while.
“This is great. It is a welcome development that will expose so many hidden details. The nation certainly will receive a kind of quality exposition if the House of Representatives wants to know what transpired. I can guarantee you that this development can send some people to jail but above all, the nation will hear and know the real truth,” said the former member of the House of Representatives.