Retirees, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, in the South-Westegion of the country, have decried the refusal of state governors to pay their retirement benefits, lamenting that the governors owe them N242 billion in gratuity and pensions.
The Zonal Public Relations Officer of the union, Olusegun Abatan, disclosed this during their zonal council meeting, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Abatan berated the governors for abandoning their responsibilities.
According to him: “Despite allowing pensioners in their states to live in penury, some of the governors went ahead to obtain nomination forms running to the tune of millions of naira.”
The pensioners also frowned at the manner at which the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, had been taking up their plight with relevant authorities.
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They maintained that the two bodies should take the pensioners’ matter with all seriousness.
Abatan said “The condition of pensioners in south west still remains the same with unpaid gratuities. Many of these states in the south west are owe pensioners since 2012 and 2013. Pensioners are being owed between N68 to N78 billion.
“Ogun State owes N68 billion, Ondo State N78 billion, Ekiti State N38 billion and Osun N58 billion. Lagos is almost free of indebtedness because it has entered into the Contributory Pension Scheme.”
“We discovered that to liquidate for example N68 billion, it will take that government 34 years. And this brings to focus the core labour centres in this country, the NLC, TUC as well as the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, to please have a common understanding with NUP.
“What we are saying is that NLC and TUC should take the matters of pensioners as a matter of urgency and if possible, they should declare trade dispute with state governments that are owe pensioners huge amount of money.
“NLC and TUC have not been taking along during negotiations the matter of pensioners. So we are urging them to do that now. By doing that, they are laying the bed they are going to sleep because they will become pensioners tomorrow. It is in their own interest to take the matter of pensioners seriously.
“We are not happy that politicians, particularly politicians of now are not interested in the welfare of pensioners as well as the entire citizenry. And what has really miffed us is that when they were voted into power, they will start policies that are injurious to the service.
“In most cases you find Governors or even Commissioners sacking workers that have been at work for the past 20 to 25 years. There should be a kind of structure that would that will not allow workers to be sacked anyhow.
“With regards to our unpaid entitlements, the NUP, south west zone in alliance with the national headquarters of our union will soon bring out a line of activities that will tell the world that pensioners are no longer to tolerate the attitude of our governors and politicians.
“All efforts are now being geared towards 2023 election. The security of everybody is no longer on the plates of our politicians and political parties. And what is interesting is that governors that owe pensioners seven years of unpaid gratuities and pensions were the first to pay N100 million for nomination form.
“You can imagine if this type of governors becomes the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, what will happen to pensioners?