By BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA—Kogi State Government has been given a 14-day ultimatum to sack all the political appointees by the National Union of Pensioners, NUP.
The NUP said the appointments contravene the Pension Reform’s Law.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, in Lokoja, Chairman of the NUP, Alhaji Onu Abdullahi, said the ultimatum became necessary due to illegal appointment of politicians into both the Bureau for Local Government Pension and State Pension Boards.
Abdullahi said that pensioners were being owed N8.9 billion in arrears, adding, however, that the N50 million released by the government for off-setting the debt was being misapplied as the history of pension management in the state was riddled with fraud. He said the union was saddened by the negative development.
According to Abdullahi, the pension fund in the state had been managed as if it belonged to private individuals, warning that the ugly development would henceforth be resisted.
He further said that the state Pension Reform Law 2007, provides that only retired or serving civil servants, not below the level of permanent secretary, could be appointed into the board, stressing that the appointment of politicians into the board was to afford government the opportunity to milk pensions’ fund.
He said: ”On December 27, last year, we met with the governor and agreed to harmonize pensions in the state; offset backlog of gratuity and pension, review same and also appoint either career civil servants to the board. He never fulfilled all these but went ahead to appoint politicians into the board. We protested against the appointments and the governor promised to look into it, only for him to inaugurate the same board.”
Abdullahi further explained that pensioners in the state received as low as N2,600 monthly even as they were being owed N8.9 billion pension and gratuity. He said that the state government released N50 million every month to offset such debt.