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Pensioners beg CBN governor for upward review of benefits

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…Seek President Buhari, others’ intervention

…Threaten industrial, legal actions

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria, CBN, pensioners have petitioned Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, pleading with him to expedite action on payment of their benefits, as contained in the two-point agreement reached on March 1, 2017 between management and pensioners.

In the petition copied among others, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the former CBN workers contended that non-implementation of the agreement had caused discomfort as many of them were no longer able to take care of their basic needs including medical, leading to death.

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele

The two-point agreement borders on enhancement of benefits and medical care.

On the aegis of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Pensioners’ Welfare Association, CPWA, the pensioners recalled that the agreement was arrived at following a meeting between CBN and the pensioners’ body.

According to the petition, a high-powered CBN management team of five Departmental Directors led by the then Director of Human Resources Department, now newly appointed as a CBN Deputy Governor, Mr. Edward Adamu,  nominated by the Governor, was mandated to negotiate with the CBN Pensioners and pensioners’ parent body; the CBN Pensioners’ Club led the president, Chief Charles M.E. Katchy, a retired CBN Director.

The pensioners found it unbelievable that close to a year after the agreement was reached between the parties, the CBN is yet to implement the content.

Following the protracted delay, the pensioners said after a meeting of representatives of the 15 branches of the body of the pensioners in Lagos, resolved among others, according to a statement by Bayo Ademola and Felix Obi, Chairman and General Secretary, CPWA, respectively, to “Write an SOS message to the CBN Governor as we are now doing, embarking on hunger strike,  street demonstrations/protests to draw the attention of the Federal Government and the general public to our plight, and taking our matter to the court as the last option.”

The statement explained that members agreed “we should carry out those activities in phases thus: (i) write this SOS appeal message first, that will be copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, among other dignitaries, for possible intervention.

If, however, nothing positive is done on at least one of the two issues agreed upon by 31st March  2018, we shall embark on the second phase of the struggle; going on a hunger strike with effect from Tuesday, April 3, 2018. If after four weeks of the hunger strike nothing positive happens, we shall embark on street protests/demonstrations backed with an aggressive media campaign. If all the above failed, we would not hesitate to go to court as the last option.

“Our prayer is that you should not allow any of the above to happen through your expediting action on the implementation of that agreement thus ameliorating the hardship being currently faced by CBN pensioners. Even if, for the upward review of pensions, you would want to wait for the National Minimum Wage Committee to determine the percent increase in pension, in the interim, nothing prevents you from significantly enhancing the Medical Allowance immediately as a palliative succour for the pensioners. It may interest you to know that the pensioners, as an already aged and aging group of people, this will enable us take good care of our health matters while we continue to wait for the Federal Government Circular on pension increase.”

The pensioners lamented that the “last upward review of pensions in the CBN was done with effect from 1st July, 2010 – almost eight years now.

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