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Monday, June 24, 2013


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may have put action to its threat to quit PenCom, forming the National University Pension Commission (NUPENCO), an independent body to manage its pension fund.

But PenCom, which claims a statutory responsibility to manage pension funds in the country, insisted no such thing would happen.

PenCom said no association or labour union, including ASUU, has the constitutional right to pull out of the contributory pension scheme established by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 or set up its own pension fund administrator without the approval of the commission.

PenCom said pulling out of the scheme by any association can only be done after the amendment of the 2004 Pension Act.

However, ASSU officials told Daily Newswatch that they are already recruiting the personnel that would pilot the affairs of the NUPENCO, arguing that as a body of elite, the union has constitutional right to handle what concerns the destiny of its members.

The Chairman of ASUU, University of Lagos chapter, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, had in a recent interview with Daily Newswatch stated that due to irregularities and lack of transparency noticed by the union members in the management of their pension fund by their various pension fund managers, the union members have unanimously agreed to take their fate into their hands by pulling out of the pension fund administrators licensed by the National Pension Commission and set up their own pension body that would manage their funds.

According to him, the body tagged NUPENCO will be domiciled at the University of Lagos and will start operation by first managing the pension fund of academic staff of universities nationwide, after which it will sweep all staff of universities and other tertiary institutions under its management.

Ogbinaka said the purpose is to ensure that ASUU members have their pension entitlement intact, adding that the current situation in which there is disparity in the amount the universities deduct from the salaries of the ASUU members and the amount the PFAs record as savings in their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) will not guarantee the safety of the members’ hard earned money.

Ogbinaka also complained that ASUU members and other contributors are kept in the dark on the investments of their funds, arguing that members of the union would want their money to be invested in places that would be beneficial to them and in a very transparent way.

He insisted that the establishment of NUPENCO is not negotiable, stressing that recruitment of personnel for the body is already in progress and there is no going back.

“ASUU has started the recruitment of personnel that will manage the board of NUPENCO at the University of Lagos. So, if anybody is saying we don’t have constitutional right to have what concerns our destiny, if they are still doubting it, please, you can go to Google search engine and find out,” he said.

He explained that “the formation of NUPENCO is part of the issues determined by law in the country. The law is open to anybody that wants to set up its own pension manager as long as it can follow the rule of law and ASUU will not do anything that is illegal.

“We have members who are lawyers, even senior advocates; anywhere you have a university across the federation. We have people who have Ph. D in Law as our members, so, nobody should think we don’t know what we are doing. We are duly registered.”

But Mr. Emeka Onuora, Head Corporate Communications of PenCom, and Usman Musa, former Special Assistant to the Acting Director General of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu- Amazu, told Daily Newswatch that the law establishing the contributory pension scheme and the pension fund administrators is still intact and has not permitted anybody to pull out of the scheme or establish own pension fund manager without due license from the regulatory body.

Consequently, they said NUPENCO establishment is not backed by law and, therefore, cannot exist.


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