Just ten days ago, Nigerian Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun resigned amid allegations she presented a fake national service exemption certificate in order to qualify for public office in the West African nation. Later, presidency confirmed Zainab Ahmed as substantive Minister of Finance.
However, members of the Nigeria Airways branch of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners on Tuesday prevented the Acting Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, from gaining entry into her office during a peaceful protest to demand the non-payment of their 14 years’ pension arrears.
During the protest, the pensioners displayed placards and took over the main gate of the ministry, obstructing human and vehicular movement, particularly the staff who were resuming for duty.
Addressing the protesters, Ahmed asked for time to enable her get appropriate briefing on the issue, and also requested a proper meeting with the leadership of the group so as to agree on a payment schedule that will be mutually convenient.
She stated that the 14-year arrears of payment would have accumulated into a huge sum, and might not be easy to liquidate in one payment, hence a mutually agreed mode would be necessary.
The protesters therefore presented a copy of their protest letter to the Minister and vacated the gate to allow her access into the premises.
They demanded the payment of their areas totalling N45.3 billion, which they said had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari since 2017.
The protesters also asked the Minister to maintain open and continuous contact with the leadership of the union for development and information regarding their pension.
People’s views about the new finance minister are quite different.
Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed is a professional accountant who graduated in 1981 from Ahmadu Bello University. She did her National Youth Service, NYSC, in Kaduna State in 1981/1982 and served her country at Messrs. Egunjobi Suleiman & Co. Chartered Accountants, as an Audit Trainee.
She obtained her master s degree from the Ogun state University, Ago Iwoye in 2004. She got her IJMB A Levels from SBS/ABU Zaria in 1979 and her WASC O Level in 1977 from Queen Amina College, Kaduna. However, her quest to make a change and add value in the Nigeria economy catapulted her to the acting Finance minister after Kemi Adeosun resigned last four days ago. But before then, Zainab was Nigeria s Minister of State Budget and National Planning who has contributed immensely to the growth of the economy. She is still the minister of state Budget and National Planning.
Born on June 16, 1960 in Kaduna State, Zainab was employed in 1982 as an Accountant in the Ministry of Finance, Kaduna State. After several promotions in the ministry, Zainab resigned in 1985 to join the Nigerian Telecommunication Ltd (NITEL). In 2010, Zainab was appointed as the executive secretary and national coordinator of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). She is a fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Taxation and the Nigerian Institute of Management.
Her few major contributions:
She raised an alarm when remittances of independent revenue by generating agencies dropped and urged National Assembly to prevail on the lawmakers to make adequate remittances. Zainab contributed towards the inauguration of committee for 54.5m support project. (Project aimed at contributing to the stabilisation of the North-east Nigeria through strengthening the resilience of Internally Displaced Persons, host communities, returning refugees and the local population affected by insurgency).
Do you think she is the new hope of Nigeria’s economy and its’ people?