Adamawa state pensioners cry over unpaid pension

The Adamawa branch of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has expressed their grievances over the delay in payment of their accumulated gratuity owed its members by the state government.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday in Yola, the state Chairman of NUP, Mr Samson Almuru, said that the union was disturbed by the government’s continued refusal to attend to the problem.

“The expectation of any civil servant is that soon on retirement from service, he or she is paid fully accrueable gratuity and such other benefits with minimum delay to start a post-retirement life happily without any difficulty.

“Sadly, however, this is not tenable in Adamawa State, as retirees who completed all retirement formalities far back 2009 to date are yet to get their gratuity paid, and no date fixed to effect the payments.”

“We consider this act as an unwholesome and does not augur well for the well being of retired civil servants battling to settle down and assume a post-retirement life for good.”

Almuru explained that the accumulated unpaid gratuity in the state was about N19 billion in addition to severance gratuity of about N200 million.

He lamented that even the one billion naira approved for pension arrears by the state government from the first tranche of Paris Club refund was yet to be paid.

He the government plan to pay only pension arrears without gratuity from the Paris club refund was unacceptable to the union, adding that pension and gratuity could not be separated.

While lauding President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the release of the second tranche of the refund, Almuru said the state government should do the needful by ensuring that the problem of pensioners was addressed.

“Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to hastily facilitate the payment of the second tranche of the London/Paris club refund to ease financial hardship of the state.

“With this development, it is our sincere hope that Adamawa State will, this time around, do justice by paying the accumulated gratuity or substantial part thereof to its retirees.”

Efforts to get the acting Secretary of Adamawa State Pension Board, Mr Talmon Fwa, to comment on the matter was abortive, but the Chairman of the Committee for the Payment of Outstanding Salary Liabilities, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abba-Jimeta, said the government had approved one billion Naira for the payment of arrears of pension.

Abba-Jimeta said the committee’s mandate was to pay just arrears of salaries and pension as the funds available from the Paris club refund could not cover gratuity.

He explained that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between states and Federal Government on the Paris club refund was that 50 per cent would go for arrears of salaries and pension while remaining would go for projects.

Abba-Jimeta said that following the approval of one billion naira for pension arrears, the committee was waiting for the list of beneficiaries from the state and local government pension boards to commence payment.

Source: ( PM News )