By Ikechukwu Amaechi
Let me disclose from the outset that Nze Chidi Duru is my friend.
I met him for the first time sometime in 1999 through a mutual friend who is now late, Tony Anyanwu, who represented my Federal Constituency, Ahiazu-Ezinihitte Mbaise, in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003.
Both Chidi and Tony, vibrant young lawyers, had won their elections and were waiting to be inaugurated when Tony and I went to see him in his law office in
|*Nze Chidi Duru (pix: vanguard)|
Upon inauguration in early June 1999, Duru became one of the stars of the National Assembly (NASS) of the
bringing his erudition and huge intellect to bear on lawmaking. Fourth Republic
Such was his contribution that he was appointed chairman of the very powerful and strategic House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation between 1999 and 2003.
So exceptional was he that he was nominated by the British government as one of 14 outstanding leaders in Africa and attended the Africa Future Leadership Pilot Programme in
. Manchester, United Kingdom
For a man who believes so much in capacity building and that politicians should have a “second address”, when he left the NASS in 2007, he attended several management courses, including the Chief Executive Programme at the Lagos Business School; Competitive Strategy and Value Creation Course at the University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain; and the Privatisation, Regulatory Reform, Corporate Governance and Management of Political Economic Reforms at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
He also ran his businesses here in
Until last week, I had not spoken with him for about a year. So, I was alarmed when I read a story online on Wednesday with the headline “Pension Scam: Ex-Rep, Hon. Chidi Duru, goes into hiding as EFCC comes after fraudsters.”
I called him immediately and the story he narrated shocked me.
The whole crisis has to do with the First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) which he founded.
Duru said: “The licence of the First Guarantee Pension Limited was given to me in recognition of the work that one did bringing to fruition the Pension Reform Act of 2004.
“Fola Adeola, who was then the chairman of the Steering Committee of the National Pensions Committee, was so excited and so pleased with the hard work that was done in bringing this into fruition that one was encouraged to consider the possibility of also being a player in the industry.
“I applied and was granted a licence as one of the players in the Pension Fund Adminiatration (PFA) industry and the name of my company then was First Guarantee Pension Limited.
“Eventually, I brought together 37 shareholders to be able to promote First Guarantee Pension as a business.”
Unfortunately, that seems to be his mistake.