By Demola Akinyemi
THE Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, in Oyo State has directed its members to withdraw from the ongoing verification exercise in the state over the harsh environment under which the initiative was being carried out.
The state’s NUP Secretary, Mr Olusegun Abatan, gave the directive to retired primary school teachers and local government workers on Tuesday while speaking on the hardship pensioners were undergoing during the exercise.
The state government ordered the screening which started on Monday for retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners in the state.
The verification exercise is aimed at ascertaining the actual number of pensioners in the state.
Abatan said that the verification exercise was poorly organised with aged pensioners suffering under the sun.
He claimed that the pensioners had no chairs to sit on while awaiting verification while some had fainted in the process.
Abatan also said that the computers being used by the consultant for the exercise were inadequate while some were not working properly.
“ The consultant informed us that it is not his duty to provide chairs at the venue of the screening but that of the government.
“We are ordering our members to withdraw from the screening exercise pending the time government does the proper thing.
“We are going to withdraw from the verification exercise and not coming back until the government is prepared for the exercise because we cannot continue to put the lives of pensioners at risk,” Abatan said.
He said that the withdrawal from the verification exercise would not affect the payment of pensioners’ gratuities and pension and called on the government to tell the consultant to do the right thing.
A visit to some of the verification centres such as Ibadan North West Local Government and Ibadan North East Local Government showed that the venues were congested.
Many of the pensioners were sighted queuing under the scorching sun.
Mr Amole Adedayo, and Mrs Akerele Abiodun , both pensioners who came for the exercise, described the exercise as stressful.
Adedayo said he had arrived at the venue at 8:30 am and had not been screened as at 1:30 pm due to the inclusion of pensioners in many local councils in one centre.
He advised the government to ensure that the exercise was conducted in each local government and not collectively as currently being done.
But the consultant handling the verification exercise, Mr Dayo Bankole, urged the pensioners to be patient.
Bankole said he had spoken with government officials, adding that they were currently working on how to create more verification centres in order to make the exercise faster.