Nigeria @62: Pensioners Send SOS Message To President Buhari, National Assembly, State Governors, Private Sector Employers

…Demands pension payment to be a first-line charge

…Says ill treatment against pensioners exacerbate corruption in civil service 

By Linda Musa

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), has called on the Federal and State governments to put an end to all forms of ill treatment against pensioners in country , saying that the menace is a major reason corruption is endemic in the public service.

NUP also called on the Federal and State governments make pension payment a priority and a first line charge, while it also urged the private sector employers to take the issue of workers welfare seriously. The union noted that productivity will increase, corruption will reduce drastically.

The pensioners’ union said this in its Independent anniversary message by its National President, Comrade Godwin Abumisi. NUP praised  Nigerian pensioners for the efforts in building Nigeria and noted that the dream for a better Nigeria must be maintained  and achieved by workers of today. 

The message in part reads; “As we mark the 62nd Independent Day anniversary of our beautiful country, we make bold to say that Nigerian pensioners across board truly deserve accolades and best treatment. We need not tell anybody that you worked hard in your youthful days, and contributed immeasurably in the pursuit for a better and greater Nigeria. You all are indeed the heroes of this great country and you deserved to be celebrated. 

“In every sector across the nook and cranny of our country, your efforts, strength, sweat and perseverance were the magic wand that transformed and ushered in this Nigeria where more opportunities and possibilities abounds. The men and women who are working harder today in every facet of the economic to bring to life the dream of a better Nigeria, a Nigeria that works for all, a Nigeria where both Federal and State governments pay pension regularly, are doing so because you started the journey and you created the dream yesterday. Therefore, you deserve to be celebrated, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. 

“As always, we wish to use this medium to send you, President Muhammadu Buhari, a special independent message of appreciation. You changed the narrative in the history of pension administration in Nigeria, and you changed the life of Federal government pensioners from worst to better. We have never had it this good. What you have done has given us hope that a better is possible. We thank you, we appreciate you, Mr President. 

“We equally thank and appreciate all the agencies of government especially the Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) for keying into President Buhari’s corrupt free pension administration, which has led to regular payment of pensions, arrears and entitlements. May the successes achieved so far, be a step to achieving  greater height in pension management and administration in Nigeria forever. 

“Pertinently, the leadership of NUP uses to opportunity to loudly call on President Muhammadu Buhari, to do his possible best to ensure that payment of pension is entrenched in the constitution of Nigeria as a first line charge. Mr President you took it upon yourself to make pension payment an important part of your government’s legacy, and you even did so much more by ensuring pension arrears and entitlements owed to pensioner for year and cleared off. We are scared and worried, wondering what will happen to us if the next president refuse to prioritize pension payment as you did. Therefore, we pray you to complete your legacy in the area of pension administration by making pension payment constitutionally backed first line charge. 

“In the same vein, we are calling on the 8th National Assembly to put this all important plea of the Nigerian pensioners into consideration and ensure that pension payment become stipulated in the constitution of Nigeria as a first line charge. We urge you to make this one of your achievements during your time. We specifically call on the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Lawal and Femi Gbajabiamila, respectively to make this a priority. 

“Furthermore, we callnon all the 35 State Governors in Nigeria to prioritize pension payment. We demand that you also make pension payment a first line charge by entrenching it into the State laws. We urge you to have human heart in your discharge of duties as governors. 

“Why would you not be perturbed that a pensioner, a fellow human being who solely depends on his/her pension in most cases for survive will be languishing and suffering just because you as a governor refused to pay him/her the money he/she worked so hard for. How do you explain to yourself that this money you withhold from pensioners, is the only resource and noble action you must take to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people who elected you. How do you justify your excuses for not paying pension to the older people?

“We call for the payment of all pending pension arrears and entitlements owed to Federal pensioners of different sector. We demand that State Governors without further delay offsets all pension arrears, gratuity and entitlements owed to a State pensioners. History will judge you favourably for not withholding the rights and sweat of the older people whose means of livelihood are in your hands. Your shall also be judged otherwise if you refuse to do the right thing.

“To this end, we want to unequivocally say that the evil of not paying retirees their due pension and gratuity, of not treating pensioner with respect and dignity is the major reason corruption is prevalence in the civil service. It is also the reason most government workers today are not putting in the required best in their work. It is also why productivity in civil service is no longer the hallmark. 

“This same evil we are talking about is also the reason people in civil service are falsifying their age to stay longer in service because they have seen how pensioners are being treated. And the ripple effect is increase rate of unemployment. The menace of not caring for the retirees is like a chain reaction that has many negative effect on the country and the progress of Nigeria. 

“We call for an end to all forms of ill treatment to pensioners in Nigeria. We call on government in the Federal and States and private sector employers to have a rethink on how they treat workers and pensioners. We must do things differently in order to change the narrative and achieve a better result for a progressive Nigeria. We must start today to restructure the system in regards to the welfare of the people. We can reduce criminality, corruption in its forms, suffering and hardship if the people are well treated. We should know that workers of today are pensioners of tomorrow.”

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