Not comfortable with goverment silence, retired workers who served the Federal Government in Ogun State, have taken to the streets to protest 14 months unpaid pension and gratuities.
The Pensioners who stormed Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat, Ogun State armed with placards with various inscriptions, appealed to the government to pay their benefits and lessen their suffering.
Led by National President of their association, Kayode Da-Silva, the pensioners called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to declare a state of emergency on pension administration in the country.
According to Da-Silva, members had been frustrated by the protracted delay in the payment of their gratuities and pensions, months after retirement, wondering why the provision of the Contributing Pension Scheme, CPS, that gratuities of pensioners should be paid three months after workers’ retirement, was being breached and gratuity payment could be delayed for over a year.
Age related ailments
He accused government of not paying deserved attention to the welfare of the pensioners, saying ” Only God knows how many of the pensioners have died on account of this undue and undeserved delay. A number of us suffer from age related ailments and must be on drug daily. Such drugs are expensive and how do we take care of our health, when the gratuity and pension are not paid.
“At home front, there is tension because of the inability to discharge domestic responsibilities, many of us still train and feed children who are graduates and unemployed while others still have children in various higher institutions.”
According to him, some of the pensioners had been driven out of their houses due to their inability to pay their rent and implored President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate payment of their pension allegedly withheld since November, 2015.
“We should not be made to die before our time, Mr. President, please save us from further agony. Save our families from hunger and deprivation. We are fully aware of the fact that the current administration is fully committed to the general welfare of all Nigerians, especially those who had served this great nation, therefore we hail the Minimum Pension Guarantee, MPG, of the Federal Government in this first quarter of 2017 as promised. We hope this will translate to enhanced pension to the least paid pensioners in the Federal service”, he pleaded.
Da-silva disclosed that there had been short payment in the payment of entitlements of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, pensioners due to calculation based on 2004 pay slips submitted for verification and urged the government and NTA authority to address the short fall. He also called on the government to address the delay in the reimbursement of their contribution to the National Housing Fund, NHF, on retirement money through the Federal Mortgage Bank which was yet to be reimbursed.