A bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act NO. 2 of 2004 on Tuesday passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to exclude members of the Armed forces of the federation from the contributory pension scheme introduced in 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Olawole Oke (PDP-Osun) which was unanimously supported by members when put to vote by Deputy Speaker Bayero Nafada who presided.Leading the debate, Oke argued that Nigeria should emulate other nations by placing its armed forces on a special pension scheme other than the existing one.
He said Nigeria could not afford to be different as its military was fashioned after that of countries like the UK, U.S., India and Pakistan.
Rep. David Idoko (PDP-Benue), who supported the bill, said that the exclusion of the military from the pension scheme would ensure better performance by its personnel during service.
Rep. Ganiyu Olakolu (AC-Lagos) urged members of the House to support the passage of the bill as it was a common practice worldwide to place the military on a special pension scheme. Rep. Bala Naâ€™Allah (PDP-Kebbi) expressed worry that Nigeria as a country had yet to place the military on a special pension scheme which other nations did long ago. Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (AC-Lagos), who spoke against the passage of the bill, said the exclusion of the military from the contributory pension scheme would amount to discrimination.
Rep. Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi) advised the House to exercise caution in amending the section of the pension scheme that would exclude the military from the existing one. â€œ We must be very cautious in removing the military entirely from the scheme as the 2004 pension law was very revolutionary,â€™â€™â€ he said.
Rep. Razak Adewusi (PDP-Oyo), who questioned the rationale behind removing the military from the scheme, said the action was not justifiable. He wondered what would happen to the Police, Immigration, Customs and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps which were also providing security services to the nation.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Pension and Public Service Matters for further legislative inputs.