The approval of the sum of N1.3 billion by the Federal Government to pay backlog of death benefit to the next-of-kin of 497 deceased staff of 116 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has yet again demonstrated President’s Buhari’s compassionate approach to governance.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Niyi Akinsuji and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, said the payment of the benefits to the families of the deceased will bring succour to the families who lost their breadwinners.
“The payment of the outstanding death benefits is yet another proof that President Muhammadu Buhari is always conscious of the welfare of civil servants and all Nigerians, and would always implement programmes and measures that would enhance the well-being of the citizens of the country who elected him to manage their affairs.
“The 497 benefitting families could use part of the money to pay school fees, buy food, pay rent and clear pending bills as their loved ones rest in peace”.
BMO said it is significant that some of the death benefits which comprise life insurance payment, cost of transporting the bodies of deceased staff for embalment and funeral, are part of the conditions of service for Federal civil servants.
The statement added that the painstaking screening of 563 claims for death benefits by the next of kins of the deceased and the clearance of the eligible 497 for whom N1.3 billion would be paid, was conducted with sensitivity and respect for the late staff and their survivors in 116 MDAs.
BMO also welcomed the assurance given to the families of the deceased civil servants by Didi Walson-Jack, the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (SWO), Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) that payment of the entitlement would commence before the end of April 2019.
It will be recalled that the Pension Reform Act, 2014 (as amended) provided that every employer of labour with not less than five employees must insure them to a minimum of three times of their annual total emoluments.
In another development, the group also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for a holistic pursuit of prison reforms in the country, noting that before Buhari, prisons reform had received only lip-service from the Federal Government and this led to so many people languishing in prisons across the country unjustly.
“We therefore consider it laudable on the part of the Federal Government to have approved N2.8Billion for the digital monitoring of prisons in Nigeria.”
The project, according to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, is to ‘’ensure the digital connection and networking of all Nigerian prisons and make monitoring from the office of the Attorney General, the Police and selected courts easy.
“This is the right step in the right direction considering that at a point about 70% of prison inmates were ‘awaiting-trials’ and in some cases had overstayed the period their alleged offences would have attracted if they were convicted.
“We are also delighted that the move will lead to the decongestion of Nigerian prisons and that it demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that innocent people do not remain in prison unjustly.
“It will also help in the quick dispensation of justice as the relevant authorities, including the office of the Attorney General, the Police and the Judiciary will have first-hand knowledge of the happenings in the various prisons and act expeditiously to save the innocent detainees and ensure speedy dispensation of justice,” the group added.