BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
LAGOS State Council of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, has described the last pensioners’ verification exercise ordered by the Federal Government through the Head of Service, HOS, of the Federation as a complete failure.

Lagos NUP lamented that at the end of the exercise done in the tail end of the second quarter of last year,   a lot of pensioners’ names were omitted in the payroll after the verification exercise while other names that were already on the payroll before the verification/revalidation exercise disappeared.

*Pensioners queuing for verification

Chairman of Lagos NUP, Alhaji Nojeemdeen Adebayo Ibrahim, who spoke while presenting a memorandum to Senate Committee on Establishment, and Public Service Matters, in Lagos, investigating the payment and management of pension funds by the Federal, States and local governments, in Lagos, commended the Senate for the facts finding exercise aimed at reducing the agonies of pensioners.

The NUP Chairman lamented that pensioners under the purview of the HOS of the federation were being subjected to series of hardship as a result of incessant fruitless verification exercises which never brought any improvement in payment of pensions.

He said verification exercises by the office of the HOS of the federation attracted casualties throughout the federation because of inadequate planning, arguing that HOS organized the exercise without taking into consideration the hardship being experienced the pensioners.

According to Ibrahim, “I wish to submit humbly that the working arrangement being put forward by the Federal Government has made it difficult for pensioners to enjoy the fruit of their labour.

Some of them are bed ridden while there is no provision to take care of the sick ones. Between 2001 and 2010, there were two verification exercises in order to place pensioners on e-payment. Between August and September 2011, there was another one called revalidation which up till now has yielded no good result. Instead it adds more poor condition to the plight of pensioners.”

Irregular pension Payment

Continuing, the Lagos NUP Chairman said, also expressed worries over irregular pension payment and lamenting that a lot of pensioners’ names were omitted in the payroll after the last verification exercise while names that were already on the payroll before the verification/revalidation exercise disappeared.

Ibrahim said the affected pensioners had not received their pensions since then, noting that no action had been taken to correct the anomalies even after a petition was sent to the HOS.

According to him, “For the past few years the federal government has been handling the payment of pensions through the Head of service a lot of problems had arisen.

Verification exercise and revalidation carried out from year 2000 to date were meant to put records straight but the reverse is the case. Many pensioners are not fully paid. The short-payment is very alarming. Up till now some pensioners are receiving N2,000 per month. All efforts to correct these anomalies have ended up in fruitless efforts.”

Detailing problems associated with the payment of pension in the country, the NUP chairman plead that state governments be allowed to handle the payments and be re-paid by the federal government.

He said “Pensioners have tasted payment under both the federal and state government and they have compared both. Now they have seen which favour them more. I appeal to you to consider the request to allow the state government to shoulder the payment.”

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