Senior citizens threaten to protest naked over poor pension

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By Michael Oche

Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has threatened to protest naked nationwide unless the government at both federal and state level reviews upward the amount paid as pension to their members.

The Union said it disagrees with excuses by State Governments that they cannot afford the implementation and payment of the previous wage and pension reviews, despite the increase in federal allocation to states by the present administration.

“It may sound incredible and absurd, but it is the naked fact that many of our members across the states of the Federation are still earning as low as N500, N1,000 as monthly pensions, particularly, in the South-East states of Nigeria,” NUP president, Comrade Godwin Abumisi, told journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

Abumisi who spoke at a press conference said that states like Borno pay their pensioners as low as N4000, while Gombe pays N8, 000; and Enugu pays an abysmal N450.

Others are “Jigawa N12,000, Katsina N7,000, Kogi N5000, Kwara N3000, Niger N4,000, Taraba N5,000, Yobe N4,500, Zamfara N3,000, Nasarawa N4,000, Osun N10,000, Ondo N3,000, Oyo N5,400, Adamawa N2000, Kano N5,000.

He said further that, “the above pension rates are as low as shown above due to non-harmonization of pensions which the Union has always made a case for, as well as the non-implementation and payment of the previously reviewed N18,000 minimum wage in 2010 and the N30,000 minimum wage in 2019 by many states of the federation.”

The Union also decried their non-inclusion in the new minimum wage negotiation committee recently constituted by the federal government.

The NUP president said it is therefore dangerous and insensitive to exclude the pensioners from such a Committee that is given the mandate to decide the fate of Nigerians of different socio-economic interest groups.

It notes that this maltreatment of the Senior Citizens is a flagrant contravention and disobedience to the provisions of Sections 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which stipulates that “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years, or together with any federal/state salary reviews, whichever is earlier”.

The union therefore proposed N100, 000 as the National Minimum Pension to the Tripartite Committee in line with the proposed N200, 000 National Minimum Wage by the NLC, saying that “anything short of that would incur the wrath of the pensioners who are hard-hit by the prevailing economic hardship, occasioned by the ever rising cost of living in a geometrical progression.”