Defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, pensioners, under the aegis of Concerned Pensioners, CPP, have appealed to the Federal Government to intervene over shortfalls in payment of their pension benefits by the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Limited, NELMCO.
The CPP alleged unethical practice by NELMCO in shortchanging the retirees in payment of pension benefits.
CPP Secretary, Mr Julius Ayodeji, said some of the pension benefits, harmonisation, monitisation and electricity rebates, were trapped in NELMCO.
Ayodeji said NELMCO officially transferred pension payment obligations to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, in July 2014, however, the Budget Office remitted arrears to NELMCO instead of PITAD, thereby causing administrative conflicts.
The CPP scribe lamented that the pensioners were yet to receive the 33 per cent arrears of pension increment approved during President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime by PTAD.
He noted that 16,000 retirees spread all over the country were affected by the shortfall in payment of pension benefits.
“We were prematurely retired in year 2000, with some of us spending about 15 to 18 years in service,” the CPP secretary lamented.
He explained that before their premature retirement, there was increment in the workers’ salary by 100 per cent under former President Abdulsalami Abubakar and a further increment of 42 per cent by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
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“However, when we were prematurely retired in year 2000, our gratuities were computed only on 100 per cent approved by Abubakar’s regime; we were not paid the 42 per cent increment by Obasanjo,” he said.
Ayodeji said CPP appealed to NELMCO when it realised the pensioners were shortchanged and the organisation agreed to rectify the problem.
“Till this moment, we are yet to be paid the benefits. These benefits consist of harmonisation, monetisation and electricity rebates.
“We were short-paid by 42 per cent for 10 years from 2003 to 2014. We made several efforts, even protested for these arrears to be paid but to avail. PTAD also did not pay the 33 per cent pension increment.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct those holding our pensions to release them to us,” he said.
According to him, some of the retirees that started the struggle had died because there was no money to take care of their medical and other needs.
“We worked under hazardous conditions; some pensioners were partially burnt, some paralysed and have several dependents. I trained all my children to university level but how many of them are working?
“I still feed them, if the economy is good, the children should have been the ones taking care of us,” he added.