September 22, 2010

Retirees, NPA management on collision course over ghost pensioners

By Godwin Oritse
MEMBERS of the Pensioners Welfare Association of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has debunked reports that over 1,000 ghost pensioners were uncovered in the authority’s retirees’ payroll.

Speaking with Vanguard in Lagos recently, President of the NPA Pensioners Welfare Association Mr Oweibena Attie accused the management of the authority of misinforming the general public over the issue of ghost pensioners.

Attie described the allegation as a blatant lie adding that it is propaganda by the authority to label the retirees as a group of bad people.

The group has demanded an apology from the management called for a thorough investigation be carried to determine if there are truly ghost pensioners on the payroll of the NPA.

The Pensioners’ Welfare Association boss explained that if there is any ghost pensioner then that person is dead and that NPA is not aware of it.

He explained that the screening of retirees is the responsibility of NPA, and the exercise according to Attie is to enable the management know if these retirees are alive or not.

He noted that there are cases of pensioners who are disable and yet to be verified would you classified these set of people as ghost pensioners ? He quarried

He disclosed that even the Managing Director of the authority Malam Abdulsalam Mohammed admitted that there over 1,000 retirees of the Nigerian Ports Authority that are yet to be verified.

The group’s leadership further disclosed that from the 1,000 retirees that were not verified in July 2009, the figure came to down to 800 in August 2010 meaning that it took NPA’s management over one year to screen 200 retirees.

The slow pace of the screening exercise has led to the removal of retirees’ names from the payroll of NPA and these names are returned after verification without the arrears of pension being paid to the affected pensioners.

The group advised the management to allocate more time to the screening exercise and ensure that they include the leadership of the Association in the verification exercise.

“For example, NPA management went to Port-Harcourt in Rivers State and came back to Lagos after two day without even asking questions and going to the hinterlands where most of these disabled retirees now resides”
“We therefore demand an apology for lying against us, the Association cannot gain anything from shielding other pensioners from being screened.

“In the past NPA will screen all able bodied pensioners and set up Committees to go round port formation across the country to determine the disable ones amongst us because they must physically see the person before they are screened but this administration is not doing that any more” . He stated.

It will be recalled that management of NPA said it recently discovered over 1,000 ghost pensioners and over N720million yearly payment to these retirees was also uncovered by the authority.