Â …ask him to prevail on NPA Mgt over 11 years unpaid benefits
ByÂ Victor Ahiuma-Young
LEADERS of over 7000 Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA Pensioners, under the aegis of NPA Pensionersâ€™ Welfare Association, have petitioned President Jonathan, urging him to prevail on the management of NPA to settleÂ Â r 11 years unpaid pension arrears and other benefits, lamenting that no fewer than 1000 of them have died while waiting for their entitlements.
In an 8-page petition by both the national leaders and eight state Chairmen of the association, said the management of NPA has refused to pay members entitlements arising from harmonization of Pension rates nationwide 1997,Â 92 % balance out of 292 % approved for us in 2000,Â 30 % pension increase arrears for 8 years (2000 – 2007),Â 15 % pension increase basic includingÂ arrears ( January 2007 – December. 2007), 100 % pension increase as monetization arrears out of 250 %Â paid to in-service staff with effect fromÂ January 2008 – 2010,Â 15 % pension increase arrears with effect fromÂ January 2010 – June 2010, new salary/pension adjustment with effect JulyÂ 2010 among others.Â Â
According the pensioners, â€œIn the past we met past and present MDSâ€™ to resolve the impasse without any fruitful results. Then we sent former CEOSâ€™ and other retired directors, controllers and general managers to plead with NPA Management without getting the desired response.Â
Furthermore in our quest for peaceful resolution of the outstanding issues, we officially wrote to and saw the following persons, institutions, organizations, agencies and ministries namely:- the Managing Directors/CEOSâ€™ of NPA since 2000 – 2010; the Chairmen and Boards of NPA up till 2010; the Minister of Transport since 2007 – 2010; the Ministers of Labour 2009 – 2010; the House of Representative Committees on Pension, Labour and MarineÂ Transport; the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Labour and Pension Matters; the office of Vice – President of the Federation and the Presidency, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We must not fail to commendÂ the Senate Committee on Marine Transport who advised the Minister of Transport then, Alhaji Issah Bio, to instruct the MD/CEO of NPA to pay us all our just entitlements without fail in February this year, and lastly the House Committee on Pension Matters who directed the MD/CEO, Alhaji Abdulsalam Mohammed to resolve the impasse within one month which had lapsed since June 19th 2010.â€
â€œDespite the good gesture of the House leadership, the NPA has adamantly refusedÂ till today to pay the Pensioners anything. What is most shocking about this matter is the fact that NPA has consistentlyâ€ generated sufficient revenue since inception till date to pay us all our outstanding benefits.
In fact the current Management of NPA has been declaring surpluses to the Federation Account of Nigeria in 2007, 2008 and 2009 incrementally. We see the refusal of NPA to pay us our benefits is tantamount to sadism, wickedness and evil.Â What else can we say when over 1000 Pensioners who were denied payment have died between 2000 to 2010 without receiving their increased emoluments?Â Shockingly too, NPA refused to disclose its indebtedness to the House of Representative Committee on Pension Matters when it came round last year to collate Federal Pensioners arrears nationwide.
Consequent upon the above fact, the budget for Pensioners arrears included NITEL, NEPA, Railways, etc except that of NPA Pensioners. Today, the Railway Pensioners for exampleâ€ are receiving their pension arrears, whereas NPA which has sufficient money to pay us have refused to pay us.â€
Removal/deletion of pensioners names from payroll
Continuing, the petitioners accused the management of NPA of arbitrarily deleting and removing the names of pensioners from the payroll, saying, â€œthe MD and the Executive Director, Finance and Administration in particular have not told the world why they have condoned the Superannuation and Finance Departments which developed a penchant of deleting some Pensioners names frmâ€™ payroll without reason, notice or excuse before restoring same after several months on receipt of complaints.
Â If we may ask, who is trading with some Pensioners monies for three to eleven months without justification before restoration to payroll. Why were the perpetrators not fished out from the Computer Section and disciplined? Why were the monies kept for sometime in spite of numerous complaints from PortHarcourt, Warri, Calabar, Owerri and Lagos Branches before partial corrective actions are taken.
Why this heartless hide and seek games with Pensioners means of livelihood by NPA without abatement or total stoppage up till now. Why do they also remove names of officials of the Association who accused them vociferously from pension payroll? Now, tell us Dear President, are these actions which affected over 150 Pensioners nationwide not acts of financial/fiscal mal-administration worthy of disciplinary actions? â€œ
Pensioners threaten court action
â€œWe have revealed the games successive Management of NPA have been playing since 1997 till date without paying us. Out of total revenue of N400billion generated approximately last year. It is expedient that you call the Management of NPA to order on their refusal to pay debts, especially debts owed to pensioners which tantamount to sabotage of Federal Government policies and intentions which is reprehensible and condemnable.
Â It is noteworthy that some ex-staff of NPA who were denied payment of their gratuity and pension since 1991 because they serve NPA for five to 14 years have won their cases from High Court to Appeal Court and up to the Supreme Court, yet NPA has not paid up.
Similarly, when the Pensioners of Central Bank of Nigeria took their management to all the Courts up to Appellate and Supreme Courts, judgment was given in their favour in respect of harmonization and pension increase arrears retrospectively from 1997 till date. Why then is government condoning the sabotage of their policies by NPA and why is NPA disregarding Court Judgments and the rule of law.
Without doubt, we will be constrained to take NPA to Court if it fails to pay us all outstanding entitlements up till date. In support of our case, we attach several newspaper cuttings to strengthen and buttress the position , remedies and reliefs we are canvassing please.Â .â€
As at the time of this report, Pension and You could not reach the managing director of NPAÂ for comments.