By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—Fresh facts have emerged that the Presidency is yet to forward the list of nominees of the National Pension Commission, PenCom, to the Senate for confirmation.
This development came nearly two years after the last Executive Management Committee of PenCom was dissolved.
Vanguard gathered that the Presidency is yet to forward the list of the nominees to the upper legislative chamber since 2017.
The source said: “The President appointed Mr. Funsho Doherty and Alhaji Aliyu Dikko as the Chairman and DG of PENCOM, respectively, in addition to four commissioners, all subject to Senate’s confirmation.
“However, given the protests over alleged illegalities in the removal of the management and in the fresh appointments, then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, appointed Funsho Doherty as DG, and moved the DG earlier appointed, Aliyu Dikko, to the Bank of Industry as Board Chairman.
“However, the Presidency is yet to send the request for their confirmation.”
Although Section 31 of PRA 2014 provides that there shall be an executive committee of the commission, consisting of the Director-General and four commissioners, the regulator has no substantive DG or commissioners.
Also, Section 31 provides for, among others, a Governing Board, consisting of a part-time chairman, PENCOM DG, four commissioners, and a representative each of the Head of Service, Federal Ministry of Finance.
, Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange, and the National Insurance Commission.
However, both the Executive Management Committee and Governing Board empowered by the PRA 2014 to approve appointments, pay increase, structural changes, are vacant, hence the alleged illegality of the Acting DG’s actions.
Meanwhile, industry insiders have urged the Senate to uphold provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives had last Thursday resolved to probe the Acting Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, over alleged illegalities, including illegal employments, 300 percent hike in her terminal benefits, and arbitrary increase of general managers from seven to 10.
Benjamin Wayo (APC, Benue), who had accused the Federal Government of illegality, said: “It is dangerous and too risky to leave a treasury of N9 trillion without proper custodians and regulators.”
However, the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), informed the House that the President had sent the list of PENCOM board nominees to the Senate, which he said had refused to consider and confirm the nominees.
Meanwhile, a pension industry insider, while commending the National Assembly for finally waking up to its responsibilities, had urged the Senate to ensure that nominations into the commission complied with the extant laws.
The source said: “First, the removal of the last management of PenCom was a gross violation of the Pension Act. The law does not envisage a situation where the entire management of a regulatory agency with a tenured appointment confirmed by the Senate is swept away because it will give way for the impunities in PenCom the House is now trying to investigate.
“Besides, no single grounds for the removal of a DG or commissioner was met. Pension law was also ignored in nominating replacements. The substitution of Aliyu Dikko with Funsho Doherty by Osibanjo has not yet addressed the legal issues involved because it is like using illegality to cure illegality.
“Besides, a replacement for the former DG, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who was removed before the expiry of her tenure must come from the South East in line with Section 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA).
‘’It provides that if the DG or Chairman was removed before the end of his or her tenure, the replacement must come from the same geopolitical zone to complete the tenure.”