A pro-South East civil society organisation, the South East Advocacy Group (SEAG), has urged the Senate not to confirm the appointment of Mr. Funsho Doherty as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).
It described the appointment as fraught with breaches of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 and calculated apartheid against the South-East geopolitical zone.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, SEAG said the contraventions of Section 20 and Section 21 (a)-(j) of the Act in the removal of the former Director-General (DG) of PENCOM, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, and flagrant breach of Section 21 (2) of the Act for a second consecutive time in the appointment of her successor was an affront on rule of law.
They said the actions have confirmed a deliberate apartheid policy against the South East by the Federal Government, noting that such actions were responsible for the resurgence of Biafra in the South East.
The statement signed by a legal practitioner and the Deputy National Coordinator of SEAG, Mr. Francis Nwodo, said: “Section 21 (2) of the Pension Act, 2014 clearly provides that ‘In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure’.
“But the Presidency first appointed Alhaji Aliyu Dikko from Kaduna State in the North West as replacement for the removed DG, who hails from the South East. This resulted in outcry among pension industry stakeholders and the South East since that appointment was in breach of Section 21(2) of the Pension Act and Section 19 (5) (a).
“We feel more disappointed that whereas Nigerians expected the Acting President to uphold the rule to protect the pension industry as a Professor of Law, what he did after his sweet sermon at the colloquium to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of Biafra War on the need to build a country that does not ‘discriminate or marginalize in any way’ was to appoint his brother from the South West, Funsho Doherty, as the DG of PenCom in clear and continued contravention of the law and exclusion of South East”.
The group wondered why it is so difficult for the government to appoint a qualified person from the South East to complete the tenure of Mrs. Anohu-Amazu.
“If this is Prof. Osinbajo’s way of building a nation that ‘does not discriminate or marginalize in any way’ and sustaining the gains made by the disbanded PenCom leadership, which raised pension assets from N2.9 trillion to N6.5 and won the African Pension Award for three consecutive years, then there is little hope for the Igbos, the pension industry and our progress as a nation”, SEAG emphasised.