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Stop Governors from borrowing N17trn pension funds- SERAP to Buhari

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammed Buhari to urgently instruct the Board of the National Pension Commission [NPC] to stop the 36 State Governors from borrowing or withdrawing N17 trillion from the pension funds purportedly for ‘infrastructural development’.

In a letter written to the President on Saturday, the Organization said Governors last week reportedly proposed to borrow around N17trn from the pension funds after receiving a briefing from Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Chairman of the National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds.

According to the letter, “Allowing the Governors to borrow from pension funds would be detrimental to the interest of the beneficiaries of the funds, especially given the vulnerability of the funds to corruption in Nigeria, and the transparency deficits in several states.

“It is patently unjust and contrary to the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution 1999, Pension Reform Act, and the country’s obligations for FG and state governors to repeatedly target pension funds as an escape route from years of corruption and mismanagement in MDAs.

“The proposed borrowing by the 36 state governors from the pension funds would lead to serious losses of retirement savings of millions of Nigerians. We would be grateful if your government would indicate the measures being taken to instruct the NPC to stop the 36 state governors from borrowing and withdrawing any money from the pension funds within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter”.

SERAP threatened lawsuit to compel Buhari’s Government to implement these recommendations in the interest of millions of Nigerian. pensioners. “If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions

“It would also be very difficult to hold governors to account for the spending of pension funds, as states have persistently failed to account for the spending of public funds including security votes, and states routinely claim that the FOI is not applicable within their states.”

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