By Shola Giwa
The suspension of Mrs Nellie Mayshak, the Director-General of the Pension Transition Arrangement Department, PTAD, has irked members of the Pensioners Rights and Protection Alliance, PPRA, who have labelled the move, “a witch-hunt.”
Speaking in a statement released in Abuja, the Pension advocacy group, represented by the Executive Secretary, Sule Adams questioned the haste with which the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, suspended the DG without first carrying out a discreet and forensic investigation into the alleged fraud.
“The suspension of Mrs Nellie Mayshak came to us as a rude shock not because she is above such disciplinary action, but because we find the process leading to it as gravely flawed and undeserving of a Nigerian who had worked hard since the establishment of PTAD to put smiles on the faces of us, Nigerian pensioners.
“It is an open secret that Nigerian pensioners have borne the brunt of the pervasive corruption in the Nigerian society more than any other group after toiling all through their productive years; PTAD and by extension, Mrs Nellie Mayshak came to reverse the situation after similar interventionist agencies contributed in worsening the situation in the past,” says the group
They insisted that the allegations are spurious and unfounded based on what they called their knowledge of the workings of PTAD as according to them, all pensioners’ salaries are paid through the Central Bank of Nigeria to beneficiary’s accounts using the Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS.
They informed also that such payments are tracked through the banks to ensure that every pensioner receives their entitlement immediately they are paid, stressing that it is a known fact that PTAD prepares and submits monthly payroll of pensioners to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in addition to issuing of payment instruction to the same office which is as adjunct of the federal ministry of finance.
The group therefore wondered why the ministry could now turn around abruptly to deny the agency if there isn’t much to the suspension order than meets the ordinary eye, even as it restate the need for the president to go deeply into the matter.
Sule Adams informed that PTAD had saved tens of billions of Naira for the nation through the elimination of over 4500 ghost pensioners and of recent saved another N7billion in 5 months that otherwise would have disappeared into the pockets of insurance companies and underwriters.
He said it is equally on record that PTAD has a list of 120 pension fraudsters which it had submitted to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, for investigations while challenging the public to cross check these assertions from the Federal Ministry of finance and the ICPC respectively.
“It is therefore preposterous to say that the Director General padded the payroll when she has been in the forefront of those fighting against such group,” Sule Adams argued.
The group which says it cannot sit back and watch pension administration in Nigeria return to the dogs also disproved the widely reported allegations that the Director General was drawing a whopping salary of N60 million every month saying Mrs. Nellie Mayshak earns a little over N3million a month which was duly approved for the office by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and which it says is about the least among its contemporaries in the public financial agencies such as CBN, FIRS ,ICPC ,PENCOM, NSITF, PPRA, to mention but a few.
“How can any civil servant allocate salary to his or herself if it is not an attempt to smear the woman by the endemic cabal of fraudsters whom she had fought relentlessly to remove their hands from the till of hapless pensioners?” the group questioned
Concluding, the pension advocacy group marveled at why Nigerians love to pull down their brightest brains informing that Mrs. Mayshak had a distinguished career that spanned Europe, Asia, Canada and Africa before taking the PTAD job and she came highly recommended.
“Mrs Nellie Mayshak is not just another Nigerian who was fortunate to get a job because of her gender or who she knows, but because of her track record of performance based a reputation built over the years working with different governments and international agencies in public sector reforms.
“We therefore call on the minister of Finance and indeed the president to see through the gang up against this intelligent and hard-working Nigerian and not just lift the suspension but clear her name through diligent investigation devoid of bias,” the advocacy group admonished.
Adams, a retiree from the federal civil service and also an exco member of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners said they the pensioners are now more aware of the management of their pension as regular communication and engagement opportunities are made available to them by PTAD to understand their workings.