By Michael Oche
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has said that the prevailing economic hardship occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol has further pauperized the already choked pensioners and older persons alike who are facing acute poverty, neglect, deprivations, and hopelessness and in most cases premature death due to inability to afford drugs to treat ailments associated with old age.
NUP National President, Comrade Godwin Abumisi stated this on Thursday in Abuja at an occasion to mark this year’s Pensioners Day celebration.
Comrade Abumisi stated that it is regrettable that the pensioners who fall in the category of the most vulnerable persons in Nigerians with their peculiar challenges are always left out in the distribution of material and non-material palliative packages.
He said, “It is on this premise that we wish to draw the attention of the Federal Government via the office of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Betta Edu who is passionately committed to fighting the course of the poor vulnerable Nigerians to consider the inclusion of pensioners in the ongoing distribution of palliative packages, both within and outside the shores of the Federal Capital Territory, towards cushioning the biting effect of the economic hardship unleashed on Nigerians as a result of the fuel subsidy removal.”
“On this note, we wish to suggest to the Federal Government that for any approved palliatives to get to our members across board, it should consider the use of Government Agencies that handle pension payments, with accurate database records, containing the account details of all pensioners for easy access and delivery”, he added.
The NUP President also drew Government attention to the current lingering challenges affecting their members across boards, urging the government to immediately proffer solutions.
Some of the issues include non-harmonization of Pension, Omission of 2015 Pension Review, non-payment of arrears of Pension Increment of 15%, 33% and the Consequential Adjustment of 2007, 2010 and 2019 Respectively to Pensioners Under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS); Non-release of the Timely Monthly Accrued Rights to the Contributory Pensioners, and payment of outstanding balance of N33 billion to Nigeria Airways workers.
He said, “The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) section 173(3) provides that pension shall be reviewed after every five years, or whenever workers salaries are reviewed, whichever is earlier.
“On this note, we would like to commend the past administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval and payment of the various pension reviews to the deserving pensioners. Regrettably, as I address you, the pension review of 2015 has suffered a series of setbacks as it has not been paid, despite all efforts invested in the struggle for its actualization.
“We therefore humbly appeal to the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to come to our aid by putting in place necessary government instruments towards making funds available for the payment of this omitted pension review of 2015 which would serve as another form of palliatives, to put smile on the faces of the benefitting pensioners across the country”, he added.