Court fixes Date for Suit against FG for Discriminatory Pension Policy

A Court in Abuja has fixed 19 May 2023 for judgment in the suit filed by aggrieved retirees challenging the federal government’s alleged discriminatory pension policy.

Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae announced the date for judgment shortly after lawyers to the parties in the suit adopted their processes and arguments in the matter.

The retirees are challenging the alleged refusal of the federal government to review their pensions upward in line with the provisions of Section 173 of the 1999 Constitution.

In the suit marked: NICN/ABJ/CS/1310/2022, instituted on their behalf by Chief Chiezonu Okpoko, the retirees are asking the court to determine the legality and applicability of Section 173 of the 1999 Constitution, Pension Acts of 2004 and 2014 and circulars issued by the federal government agencies relating to pension implementations.

The claimants who are from the six geo-political zones are Chike Ogbechie, Hajiya Fatima Ahmad, Olarewaju Ale, Vitas Ajaegbu, Alhaji Abubakar Giza, Samuel Oladosu Ajayi, Dama Peter Douglas and Alhaji Muhammed Maccido.

The six defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Director General, National Pension Commission and the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

Upon determination of the legality and applicability of Section 173 of the 1999 Constitution, Pension Acts of 2004 and 2014 and circulars issued by the federal government agencies relating to pension implementations, the plaintiffs sought ten declaratory reliefs.

They are seeking a declaration that by the provisions of Section 1 of the Pension Reform Act 2004, re-enacted by the provisions of Section 3 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, the federal government introduced and established the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to apply to all employees in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the private sector.

They are also asking the court to declare that the Pension Reform Act, 2014 Act does not have a retrospective effect of taking away the rights that had accrued before the coming into effect of the 2014 Pension Reform Act.

The retirees further sought a declaration that having put into the service the minimum mandatory period for gratuity before the 2014 Act came into being, they are entitled to their gratuities notwithstanding the coming into effect of the 2014 Pension Act and applied for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from further denying them and other retired officers of the Contributory Pension Scheme who had put into service the minimum years for gratuity before the effect of the 2014 Pension Act, their earned entitlements.

The retirees also sought an order of mandamus compelling the defendants to compute, with immediate effect, all their financial entitlements and those of officers on Contributory Pension and their gratuity to put an end to the continuous injury being inflicted on them by the refusal to review their pension upward.

At the end of the proceedings, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae announced that she would deliver the Court’s decision on May 19.

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