By Auta Obadiah Dauda
Retired Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Service (HoS) in Kaduna state have sued governor Nasiru El-rufai of Kaduna state and the governmemt over the deduction of their pensions.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr Sam Atung, who filled the case, said the deduction started in March, 2020 without any prior notice.
“We have now instituted a case at the National Industrial Court (NIC), Kaduna on the ground of pension right of the plaintiffs as enshrined under section 210 of the 1999 constitution as amended challenging the recent decision of the Kaduna State Government on the deduction of monthly pension of the plaintiffs in the matter,” Atung said.
According to the lawyer: “we went to court for the court to determine whether by a construction of clear and unambiguous provision of amongst others the entire of section 210 of the Kaduna state Pension Reform Law, 2016 the plaintiffs right to pension being retired officers in the public service of Kaduna state is not guaranteed and protected.
“Whether the plaintiffs right to pension right as retired public servants in the public service of Kaduna state is guaranteed and protected by the provisions of Section 210 of the 1999 constitution( as amended) and the provisions of the Kaduna state pension reform law, 2016.
“That the plaintiffs are retired public servants in the public service of Kaduna state and the Defendants are from their conduct in the entire circumstances of the suit estopped from asserting otherwise.
“That the Defendant lacks the vires to Legislate/Act retrospectively in a manner that purports to derogate from the plaintiffs enjoyment of their pension right to their disadvantage without their concurrence.
“The Defendant purported reduction of the plaintiffs monthly pension to their (plaintiffs) disadvantage is unconstitutional, ultra vires the Defendants and therefore null and void ab-initio.
Elanza News reports that the petitioners are asking the court to “direct the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the difference in their monthly pension resultant from the defendants unlawful deductions from the plaintiffs monthly pension which commenced in the month of March, 2020.
The lawyer, Atung, also pray for the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, officers, successors, agencies, parastatals, commissions etc, whomsoever and howsoever otherwise from acting in any manner whatsoever prejudicial to the plaintiffs enjoyment of their pension rights as retired public servants in the public service of Kaduna state.
According to one of the plaintiffs, Alhaji Ahmed Abdu Zaria, “Some of us have been collecting our pension for the past 15 years, some for the past 10 years and we have never witnessed such deduction until now. Some of who were collecting N500,000 our pension is drastically slashed to N100,000. And prior to filing the suit, our counsel wrote to the state government seeking audience but, was declined,” he added.
Elanza News reports that a date is yet to be fix for hearing.