Nigeria Union of Pensioners Threaten Not To Support 2015 Election Candidates Over Payment Anomalies

Why do pensioners in Nigeria have to protest in order to get the attention of government leaders and other agencies in charge of their funds?

A number of times in 2014, these retirees hit the streets carrying placards to seek for government intervention over lack of payment.

“Our [pension] are not being paid by the Government as they ought to,” says Mr. Tunde Yusuf a PHNC pensioner.

Yusuf says the pension fund is his major source of income since he retired from active service some years ago. The irregularity in the payment has caused a major set back for himself and his family.

The appropriate agencies involved in the payment of the pension money includes; Ministry of Finance, Accountant General of the federation, National Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and other functionaries.

The anomaly in the system is quite unclear to many of the pensioners. Some of them claim that NELMCO, one of the agencies responsible for the payment of pension money, is also part of those syphoning the pension fund.

Explaining the predicament of the pensioners, Tiamiyu Tajudeen, the Auditor of the Alimosho Chapter of Pensioners, said “Since March not all Pensioners has gotten their money and we do not know who is playing games, the President should intervene.”

“We’ve received promises from the secretariat and it had yield no result, we don’t seem to be fighting anyone, we just need our money.” He added.

“Since this year 2014 began our pensions has been paid in a most haphazard manner,” says Lawrence Aremo, Chairman of Alimosho Chapter of the defunct PHCN Pensioners.

“For instance, January and February Pensions were only paid on 14th and 15th June, whilst pensions for the months of June, July and August have not been paid,” he said.

The pensioners, well over their prime, say their ability to contribute to development of their families and communities was being hindered by lack of money.

“I have served Nigeria for the past 35 Years and since retirement in 2001 from NEPA getting my pension has been hard,” says Julius Onabanjo.

The payment of pensioners may not always be a problem with every known Government in Nigeria if a more transparent payment structure is put in place.

The Permanent secretary of Enugu State Head of Service, Josephine Onyia, said in a report that “Pensions are paid in Enugu State along with civil servants salary. What we know is just a little backlog of gratuity, the bulk sum that is to be paid to Pensioners when they retired.”

Josephine further explain the pension situation in the State: “The State Water Corporation Pensioners are being owed 38 months; the last payment of gratuity here was made in 2005. Other problems are the non payment of six percent, twelve percent, and 15 percent pension increases enjoyed by pensioners in other States.”

“Every States apart from Imo, owes pensioners. And as a union we need to ensure they pay before the elections. Our National officers have said that the Union will not support any Governor or his candidates who fail to pay every money owed the pensioner in 2015,” said Emeka Onwumere, the Vice President Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

 

David Atilola is a Student-Journalist, with a keen interest in development journalism. He is presently studying Mass Communication at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. He is also a spoken word artist,who believes poetry is a tool to effect a positive social change in the society. David is a Social media enthusiast and writer, using his little voice to speak change to the lives of youths. Follow David on twitter @davidatilola

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