Pensioners, under the aegis of the Association of Contributory Pension Sector, Southwest zone, on Friday, staged a peaceful protest over alleged unpaid of their gratuity by the federal government.
The pensioners who consist of retirees from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, University of Ibadan, University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and Lagos and Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, NIPOST among others, staged the protest in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “contributory pensioners’ shortfall; 15% and 30% arrears; consequential; IPPIS and minimum pension; Damisah A.B., Joseph Idowu, Adesegun Adeleke, Idowu Ogunjinrin and Alhaji Ibrahim Bakare are all fraudsters; Alhaji Ibrahim Bakare (of Salary wages (Abuja) give us our money that you fixed in the bank account; retirees are suffering, please”.
The senior citizens alleged that top officials of the National Pension Commission were holding on to their hard earned allowances after their retirement.
The pensioners claimed that the money they were contributing at the time of their retirement were not paid to them, positing that members of the association are in dire need of their money to take care of themselves.
Speaking with newsmen, the Chairman of NUPCPS in the zone, Joseph Olugbemiga Oyadiran, said that their members have not been fairly treated having contributed to national development while in service.
Oyadiran stated that they had written to the federal government through the Ministry of Finance, stressing that they had taken the matter to court demanding the release of the association’s document from the Vice President of ANUCOPER, one Ajisafe and the Treasurer, Damisah, but their efforts yielded no result.
He further alleged that one Ibrahim Bakare, and Damisah, the treasurer connived to siphon the contributory pension of the pensioners after the money had been deposited in a designated account.
Oyadiran said, “we are applying for payment of shortfall in our gratuity. When they were calculating our money after our retirement, they used grade level and this brought shortfall in the money they paid us”.
“Then, Alhaji Ibrahim Bakare and his cohort took the money from the treasury and put it in a private account and generating interest of almost N200 million every year”.
“Damisah is the key officer that is hoarding the money in his account”.
“So, the two of them, when they wanted to put the money in the account, they first approached FECOPA, but Adeleke said since FECOPA has no CAC registration, it is ANUCOPA that has registration, that was why they put the money in ANUCOPA’s account”.
He further said, “They have been keeping the money all along and taking an interest.
“Also, some of our members collect a pension of N3,000 per month. What can that do in the economy of Nigeria of today”.
“We met in Pencom, I was in the team and I have all the people that were in attendance as of that day, May 8, 2018. They promised that they would start paying that minimum pension with effect from January 2018. Up till now, they have not. The Director-General said it was because of non-availability of a board that was delaying it for almost a year now”.
He added, “IPPIS is owning our money. When our people are retiring, the money that was in the IPPIS was not calculated with their pension money; and we have been parading the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for the past two years. And the money is still there. They have generated the money for all our members. What is delaying them from paying”.
“We asked him (Damisah) to surrender all the documents of the association, he failed to do that. He has been taken to the police station but the police were unable to arrest him. We have taken him to the Ooni of Ife palace”.
“Apart from the minimum pension that we have a local problem, that one of Ife is one. UCH management, when they started the deduction of this pension in 2014, there was one hundred and seventy-eight million nairas outstanding with them up till today.
“Do we have a government who cannot control those people that are serving?
“All letters we have written to the Minister of Finance, there was no reply”.
“We learnt that Secretary to the Government of the Federation had written a letter, instructing Pencom to pay all our money. They have been telling us since 2016 that our money is in the budget”.
“Instead of giving us 80% of our last pay, they are giving us 20%. For what? This is against what we have in the Constitution of the country.
“We asked them to make a provision for our checkup bills, they refused. And Pencom is taking 1% of our money as administrative charges.”
“What did pensioners do to this government to deserve all the problems we are having?”
“These people had served for 35 years and you are saying they are not entitled to their gratuities. We have not been paid our gratuity. The condition by which we were employed is still there”, Oyadiran stated.