By Michael Oche
Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, on Wednesday decried the plight of pensioners in the states, saying that the majority of state pensioners who retired between five to ten years ago have not received their gratuity since retirement, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, has said.
The Union also lamented that almost all the state governors have refused to review the monthly pension of their retirees as provided in Section 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
National President of NUP, Comrade Godwin Abumisi who stated this in Abuja during a press briefing, warned that pensioners and their families would vote presidential and governorship candidates who are committed and more disposed to their cause and plight.
Comrade Abumisi called on the state governors, to as a matter of national emergency, immediately set up committees jointly with its State Councils across the country to work out modalities on how the governors will liquidate all outstanding entitlements that had accrued over the years.
He said: “As the president of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, I cannot end this address without mentioning the pathetic plight and unfortunate living condition of our state pensioners who are suffering from non – payment of their legitimate entitlements by their respective state governors.”
“Even though I salute many state governors who are prompt in paying monthly pensions to our state pensioners, it is on record that the majority of the state pensioners have not received a dime of their gratuity since retirement (5 – 10 years).
“More worrisome, almost all the state governors choose not to review the monthly pension of their retirees as provided in Section 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) where it says: ‘pensions shall be reviewed after every five years or whenever workers’ salaries are reviewed, whichever comes earlier.
“Over the years, the federal government had reviewed the pension of her retirees, comprising of 6½%, 12%, 15%, 33% and the recent consequential adjustment on pension of 2019 as a result of the new national minimum wage.
“These reviews were meant to enhance the monthly earnings of pensioners. Unfortunately, many state pensioners’ monthly pension remained stagnant for many years which have continued to impoverish and disadvantage them.
“With all sense of respect and responsibility, I call on the state governors as a matter of national emergency to immediately set up a committee jointly with our state councils across the country to work out modalities on how state governors will liquidate all outstanding entitlements that had accrued over the years.”
He also commended the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Chioma Ejikeme for clearing the 33% increment arrears owed pensioners in the Parastatals Pension Department since 2019.
The NUP President noted that since PTAD began operation in 2013, it had brought “succour and put a smile on the faces of pensioners who are now experiencing fresh air, peace of mind and heaving a sigh of relief due to seamless management of their pensions by PTAD.”