BY Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—Scores of pensioners yesterday barricaded the major entry point to the National Assembly complex in protest against the non-provision for the payment of 53.4 percent increment in the 2014 Appropriation Act.
The protesters wielded placards with inscriptions displaying their mood and some of them read as follows: “Coordinating minister of the economy, please release funds for pensioners entitlements”; “FGN- hear the cries of senior citizens so that it will be well with the country’; ’53.4% is our rights, pay us”; “Multiple senior citizens are suffering of different ailments, pay our pension arrears to enable us settle medical bills” and “Productive years of pensioners wasted for a country that care less about their welfare, what a pity!”, among others.
NUP President, Abel Afolayan, in the six-page petition dated July 10 2014 and addressed to the Chairman, House Committee on Pension, expressed concern over non-compliance with sections 173(3) and 210(3) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended by the federal and state governments.
He also decried inordinate attitude of Federal Government to honour the agreements reached at various meetings facilitated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said: “Unfortunately and regrettably, the various meetings and various decisions arrived at by the committee based on the pensioners problems as enumerated before His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan have not been fruitful till today.
“Thereafter, we held meetings with the Minister of Labour and Productivity with a view to bringing lasting solutions to our many problems yet nothing came out of the meetings to put smiles on the faces of the civilian pensioners.
“When we heard that the military pensioners were paid 33 per cent increase in pension, it was our genuine expectation that it would be our turn to be paid similar increases. Our expectation has, so far, been futile,” Afolayan stated regrettably.
According to him, military pensioners are legitimately asking for the full 53.4 percent increase due to them and, by extension, civilian pensioners.