By Mistira Abdulrafiu
Pensioners in the South-West Zone of the country have accused the governors from the zone of abandoning them to die prematurely and miserably.
Speaking through the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP, South-West zone, the senior citizens decried the backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuities by governors in the South-west, saying most state governors have no regard for pensioners.
The pensioners who spoke in Lagos State, at NUP’s zonal meeting, accused the governors of insensitive to the plight of pensioners.
In his address, Chairman, South-West Zone of NUP, Waheed Oloyede, appealed to the state governors to pay the pensioners regularly.
He also called on the governors to increase pensions in their respective states, noting that “some pensioners are still receiving as low as N5,000, monthly. Nigerian constitution provides an increase in pension every five years and whenever salaries of workers are increased, that of pensioners should also be increased. We have discovered that only the Federal Government is fulfilling the promise, but the states are not.
“The consequential increase in pension that was approved by the Federal Government in 2019 was not implemented in many states.
“We are using the opportunity of this meeting to appeal to all the governors that have not implemented the increase to do so without any further delay.
“Pensioners are dying almost every week. Many of us use the little money we are paid to buy medicines and when the money is not forth coming, we cannot get them and that means we cannot live long.
“This is why we are pleading with government to listen to the plights of pensioners and ensure we are paid what we should be paid as and when due. The problems of pensioners are almost the same in all the states of the federation and most of the state governors have no regard for pensioners.”
On his part, the zone’s Public Relations Officer, Olusegun Abatan, lamented that there had not been substantial development from the zone’s last report on how the state governments had been addressing the plight of pensioners.
He noted that out of the South-West states, only Ogun State Government had set up a committee to address the consequential adjustment on pension, adding that it had set up a committee to address the issues of pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.
According to him: “We want to use this opportunity to encourage and plead with other state governors in the South-West to take into consideration and act promptly on the consequential adjustment of pensions.”
Abatan pleaded with the South-West state governors to declare a state of emergency on pensions in their respective states, urging the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC across the South- West states to support pensioners in their states as well.
Also in his remark, Vice-Chairman, NUP, Lagos State Council, Comrade Aderemi Titus, charged political leaders to have a heart to serve the people, reminding them that “every one will reap the fruits of his deeds.”