The Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress have lamented ‘poor money’ received by pensioners in the country. The NLC lamented that many pensioners still collect as low as N2, 000 per month as pension, especially at state level. The government, NLC and the leadership of the National Assembly agreed at the 11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, to fight for a review of the Pension Act.
Speaking at the event, President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, noted that corruption in Nigeria cannot be wished away in a situation where pensioners still receive N2, 000 as pension.
He said: “That is why the issue of corruption in our system cannot be wished away; people would want to help themselves because they work for many years and when it is time to retire, there would be nothing to rely on for tomorrow.
“As we speak, even the minimum pension that is accommodated in our constitution has not been reviewed. We have a situation in some states where pensioners are collecting N2, 000 as monthly pension; even that has not been paid. As we speak in some states, they still treat their pensioners as lepers.
“The NLC president gave an example of Imo State where he said more than 40 per cent of the pensioners have not been enrolled. “I am calling on the state governments, including the Federal Government, to prioritise the payment of the benefits of pensioners; it is their right, their earnings,” Wabba said.
Also, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, acknowledged that the consequential adjustment to pension of Nigerian pensioners since 2019 was long overdue.
Ngige, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Yerima Tarfa, said: “Distinguished Senior Citizens, permit me to use this opportunity to inform you that the Federal Government is mindful of your sacrifices and contributions to the Nigerian project and is committed to taking necessary steps to address issues that border on improving your welfare.
“In this regard, my ministry has decided to take the lead on the lingering issue of consequential adjustment to pension of Nigerian pensioners which had been overdue since 2019 when the new Minimum Wage Act was signed into law by Mr. President. In this regard therefore we are hopeful that working with other agencies of government, there would be some light at the end of the tunnel.”
President of NUP, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said pensioners would be protesting nationwide over the failure of local government to release the circular and commence implementation of the consequential adjustment. Besides, he said the government has failed to approve the upward review of pensions following the national minimum wage increase, despite the fact that the report of the Joint Committee that worked on the review has been submitted since last year to the presidency.
In a remark, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Ibrahim Shekarau, said it is unacceptable for people to have served for several years and be given less attention. The former governor of Kano State said a law must be enacted and supported by both the executive and the legislature at all levels to ensure that the rights of pensioners are respected.