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NANS shelves planned protest against PenCom DG, Dahir-Umar, gives reasons



NANS shelves planned protest against PenCom DG, Dahir-Umar, gives reasons

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Wednesday said it had called off its planned protest against Aisha Dahir-Umar, the director-general and chief executive officer of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the NANS Senate President, Attah Felix Nnalue said it discovered that the planned protest was uncalled for, in light of new information made available to them.

The union had threatened to stage daily mass protests against PenCom should the pension regulator fail to furnish it with the details demanded in a Freedom of Information (FOI) letter sent to the commission over an alleged annual expenditure of N14 billion on personnel costs.

Nnalue, however, said that after carefully reviewing its allegations against PenCom, NANS found that there was a “marked difference between staff cost and staff salary” with the former consisting of training allowances, staff exit benefit scheme, and employers’ pension contribution “as opposed to salaries that are fixed and eared monthly”.

He blamed the misconception on the “lack of inattentiveness that played out at the National Assembly” when the lawmakers recently invited officials of PenCom to seek clarification on issues as part of their oversight functions.

Nnalue said the union regretted that since the events that transpired at the National Assembly few weeks ago, both the traditional and social media, had been misrepresenting facts with the intention to portray Dahir-Umar in bad light.

The NANS senate president said the association carried out independent findings and came to the conclusion that the “allegation of wasteful spending was in many parts misleading, untrue, unverified, therefore, should be ignored.”

Read also: NANS begs ASUU to respect court order, appeals to govt to pay outstanding salaries

He further called on relevant stakeholders to focus on steps taken by the “Dahir Umar-led PenCom to safeguard contributors’ funds rather than on inanity.”

He added, “Furthermore, the NANS is aware that the Presidential Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments in the Public Sector headed by the late Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Head of the Interim National Government, made a number of recommendations which guided the PenCom Board in its compensation review exercises. One of the recommendations is that the pay structure of self-funded agencies should be benchmarked with their private sector comparators so as to ensure relativity in such agencies and attract and retain high-calibre professionals.”

Nnalue also noted, that Dahir-Umar supervised the growth of the pension assets from N6.42 trillion in 2017 to N14.3 trillion as at July 2022.

The students therefore, insisted that they would not allow themselves “to be swayed by a malicious narrative against a tested and patriotic woman that has dedicated her life to the service of our dear nation.”

“We are against corruption and we are committed to advocating and promoting good governance at all levels, as such we will never support corrupt elements in government. But where there is a clear misinformation about happenings, we owe ourselves and the society a duty to get to the bottom of the matter in order to get the facts and set the records straight.

“It is due to some of the reasons enumerated above that NANS as a body of all Nigerian Students decided to pass a vote of confidence”, on the PenCom leadership.

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