By Victor Ahiuma-Young
NIGERIA Union of Pensioners, NUP, has warned that it will not support any further verification exercise, insisting that it will not allow its members to go through what its described as ”endless verification exercise.”
It therefore called on the Federal Government to ensure that the ongoing verification exercise by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, will be the last.
The union lamented the endless agonies members undergo every now and then to partake in the verification exercise.
Speaking during the
inauguration of the new executives for NUP, Federal civil service sector, the deputy General Secretary of the union Chief Adeniyi
Okunade, who represented the President, Dr. Abel
Afolayan, said the pensioners wanted to see that verification was concluded in good time so that those who had not been paid for years would be paid.
While commending the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the plight of pensioners,he expressed sadness that many attempts to meet the President in person to place their problems before him had not been successful.
He claimed some individuals had been blocking their
attempts to see President Buhari to tell him about the challenges pensioner in the country are facing.
According to him: “we have some challenges, but we are not resting on our oars. We are fighting hard to make sure that our rights are given to us, to make sure that all arrears are paid, like the 33 per cent arrears.. We want to see that verifications are concluded in good time, so that those who have not been paid for many years can be paid, and that they will not take their entitlement in the grave. We have written to (Buhari).
As soon as he was elected, we wrote to him that we wanted to hold a meeting with him, but some people have been blocking our way.
We have not been able to see him. But we have used the media to draw his attention and to let the world know our plight. Thank God, he had set up a committee now to solve the problems of pensioners.
“The PTAD Executive
Secretary is the secretary of that committee.
He wants them to let him know all the problems of pensioners – all the outstanding arrears and how much it is.
He has asked them to give him a total package. We trust that he will do something about it.”
On the continues verification exercise, Okunade, said the pensioners had received assurances that this would be the last as the PTAD had said it was working on a data bank for pensioners.
He said, “I think they are assuring us that this is going to be the last one.. And we want to thank them that this ongoing verification is the best so far. They have made a very good arrangement. We thank PTAD and the government. We hope that it will be the last. They said they will get a data base where everybody who gets into the data base will be permanently recorded and will continue to earn his pension until he dies.”
On his part, the Chairman of the NUP Federal Civil Service, Comrade Sunday Omezi said many of the pensioners had died while waiting for their pension.
He described their situation as dire, saying only a quick conclusion to the verification might bring respite to the pensioners; some of whom he said have been removed from the payroll since 2010.
He said, “What I want the Federal Government to do is to pay us our arrears. We have some members, since 2010, their names were removed from the payroll.. So, what we want government to do now is to look into their case and pay them.
Most of us are dying on daily basis. And those people that have died cannot collect anything. That is why we are appealing to the government to hasten the verification exercise they are doing so that they can pay us.”