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NAMA: Pensioners allege financial fraud, sharp practices in pensions division, “it is not true” says Capt. Akinkuotu

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Group photograph of NAMA Pensioners under the aegis of FEPPPAN NAMA Chapter at their delegates conference in Lagos

All is not well in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, as pensioners of the agency have alleged unprecedented fraud in their pension entitlements.

To this end, the over 600 retired staff of the agency have called out the Management of the agency especially the Director of Human Resources and Administration to explain to Nigerians how they shortchanged the pensioners of over N1bn.

Chairman, Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association, FEPPPAN, NAMA Chapter, Engr. Kester Omotayo in his address of welcome at its delegates Conference transition from National Union of Pensioners NUP to FEPPPAN, says this short payment in their monthly pension had lingered for than 10 years due to ignorance, inefficiency and corruption.

Giving details of how the pension shortchanged started, Engr. Omotayo said the case started with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN returnees pensioners to NAMA in 2005 as the pension increased effective from 2003 was implemented, adding that NAMA pension was also not fully harmonized in 2007-2011 as directed.

According to the NAMA FEPPPAN Chairman, all efforts to resolve these discrepancies after due notification of the Human Resources Department failed.

“Rather they took offence and decided to delay and suppress actions on our several submissions on the issue since 2017. The pension indebtedness had accumulated to over N1bn. We have submitted a full-proof tabulated analysis to NAMA Management for well over a year but as usual, there was no positive action taken.”

Also speaking on the matter, one of the affected pensioners and executive officer of the FEPPPAN NAMA Chapter, Mr. Olayinka Abioye also alleged that NAMA operates two pension structures apparently to deliberately cover up the sharp practices in the pension division of the Human Resource Department.

“This was suspect when in 2017, we requested them for the structure with which our pension were being paid but we were not only denied but also were told that it was a ” Classified Document”.”This issue has been reported to NAMA Pensions Board of Trustees for we’ll over two years, the Board Chair person’s instruction to the Board accountant fell on his deaf ears. What an insubordination but unchecked situation in the present day public service.”

When asked if the current MD NAMA Captain Fola Akinkuotu was aware of this development, Mr. Abioye said though Capt. Akinkuotu was the MD, even his directive is not carried out.
“The MD gives approval to certain things and it never gets done.”

He added, “Akinkuotu is an outsider in NAMA. He came, he has blended with the system, he loves the unions, but unfortunately, Akinkuotu is handicap. He is handicap to such an extent that the directorate of Human Resources and Admin has captured him. He is the Managing Director, but he’s not in charge. People in HR are in charge of running NAMA and that is why NAMA is in problem” he said.

He emphasized that what was going on in NAMA regarding the payment of their pension was pure fraud and that they have evidence to show this.

“It is pure financial fraud, pure pension fraud is ongoing in NAMA. We have evidence, we have done our computations we have our figures, we have compared our figures with their own figures and we know there is a discrepancy. Let them come to table and tell us where those discrepancies came from. For the records, the immediate past DGM of that of that department may God rest his soul, told us in confidence that yes there is a problem but it was a problem of past administration but please, can this new administration correct the same he said, let us see if we can push them to do so, we have been pushing for also one year and we are still here.”

Abioye stated that they yet to escalate the matter but have decided to resolve the matter internally first but if this fails, FEPPPAN would rise to the challenge and take action appropriately.

“We have not gone outside, we want to internalize the situation, when the situation gets out of hand, we will not even go to the Ministry, the Ministry will be begging FEPPPAN and that was one of the reasons why we opted out of the NUP initially before FEPPPAN came in to be was that NUP cannot satisfy our yearnings, so we will escalate the matter from our level, take it to FEPPPAN and when FEPPPAN begin to speak the Ministry will intervene.”

Responding to the allegations by the NAMA pensioners, the MD NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu described the allegations as false and that there no fraud regarding their pensions in anyway., “There is no truth in it.”

According to Capt. Akinkuotu, when they raised the matter of error in payment, they assured to look into it and agreed a Committee be set up of which they would be members to iron out all grey areas.

“Now the pensioners too not that they are not getting their pensions, they are and they continue to be thankful to my Management that we pay them despite what is happening in  other agencies like FAAN, we pay them and they say the working is wrong I said okay and we can’t take somebody allegation on face value, I say let us set up a committee which they will be members of, so that is where we are.”

He described the pensioners allegations as unfair, adding they were paid regularly their entitlements and alleging there was a fraud was not being appreciative of the effects of the NAMA Management.

“For them to say we diverted their money that is arrant nonsense, it is unfair for the person we are paying regularly to say we defrauded yes they wrote the Management and we said we are going to look into it together.”

“When I got to NAMA, there has been a paper they said government say we should harmonize their salaries with FAAN and this is something that was not done for 15 years, I set up a committee to look into it am not talking about pensioners, am talking about in general, so we examined this we did everything and we harmonized and this is something they have been looking for for 15 years, I did it.”