Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Nigerian Federal Retirees Lament 14 Months Unpaid Pension 
January 11, 2017
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
Nigeria Punch

Scores of pensioners, who retired from Federal Government’s agencies, stormed the state secretariat of the Ogun State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta, on Tuesday, lamenting the non-payment of their gratuities and pensions for 14 months.

The pensioners, who said they retired in November 2015, and were under the contributory pension scheme, lamented that since their retirement, they had neither been paid their gratuities nor their pensions.

They said having served the nation diligently for 35 years, they were left to languish in penury.

They displayed placards with different inscriptions, including, ‘It is our money, give it to us,’ ‘This is our savings, why punishing us,’ and ‘Delayed entitlements breed corruption.’

The protesters were made up of pensioners who retired from the Nigeria Television Authority, the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, the Federal University of Agriculture and the Federal Medical Centre, all in Abeokuta.

The interim National President, NTA Contributory Pensioners Association of Nigeria, Mr. Kayode Da-Silva, said the experience of the pensioners were contrary to the intent and purpose of the contributory pension scheme, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their rescue by releasing their entitlements to them.

He said, “With mixed feelings of neglect and regret, we wish to let President Muhammadu Buhari know the harrowing experience of the senior citizens of this nation.

“Many of us here, who had served the nation diligently and meritoriously in the federal civil service for 35 years, are now languishing in penury  because of non-payment of gratuity and pension since our retirement in November 2015, more than 14 months ago.”

Da-Silva noted that the rule guiding the contributory pension scheme stipulated that they get their payment within three months after their retirement.

He added that neither the Federal Government nor the National Pension Commission had given any credible and satisfactory reason for the protracted delay in the payment.

Da-silva further said many of the pensioners, who suffered from old age related ailments, could not take care of their health as drugs for such ailments were expensive.

He said, “Only God knows how many of the pensioners have died on account of this undue and undeserved delay. A number of us suffer from age related ailments and must bé on drugs daily.

“Such drugs are expensive and how do we take care of our health when our gratuities and pensions are not paid? At home front, there is tension because of the inability to discharge domestic responsibilities.”

The pensioners thus called on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the plight of the Federal Government pensioners and “order immediate payment of our entitlements.”

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