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Ondo retirees demand minimum pension, equality, others

By Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure
15 December 2018   |   4:16 am
Ondo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), has decried non-harmonisation of pension of its members and lamented the huge disparities between...

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Ondo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), has decried non-harmonisation of pension of its members and lamented the huge disparities between local government retirees and their other counterparts.

Its Chairman, Chief Raphael Adetuwo, disclosed this during the 2018 Pensioners Day Celebration in Akure, urging the Federal Government to pay N30, 000 minimum wage as recommended by labour.

He said: “Non-harmonisation of pension is another painful issue to pensioners. A grade one school principal who retired in 1986 receives N40,000 per month, while his counterpart who retired in 2013 receives N250,000 monthly.

“Besides, it is inhuman that there are still some pensioners whose monthly pension is less than N5, 000, while many receive over N500, 000 monthly.

“We believe that if there is a minimum wage, there should also be a minimum pension and retirees on the same grade level ought to be earning the same monthly pension no matter the number of years of retirement.

He faulted the non-compliance of the Federal and state governments to sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which stipulate that pension shall be reviewed every five years.

“The Federal and state governments have always violated these constitutional provisions. The resultant effect is accumulation of unpaid arrears of pension increase.

“In 2014, Federal Government approved 33 per cent pension increase, which is yet to be implemented by state governments. In 2012, 15 per cent pension increase was paid in Ondo State but its arrears paid to local government and primary school pensioners.

“In Ondo State during the last administration, arrears of monthly pension as a result of delay in the payment of monthly pension after retirement are yet to be paid,” he stated.

Adetuwo also lamented the disparity in Federal Government’s allocation for the payment of state and local government pensioners estimated at 67.3 per cent and 32.9 per cent respectively.

“In effect, there is often a disparity in the payment of pensions in the same state. This is why Ondo State government is now owing local government pensioners three months monthly pension and owing state pension only one month pension,” he added.

He revealed that N310 was deducted from their monthly pension as from December 2013 by previous administration and N150 by the present administration, demanding the review of the sharing ratio and an end to illegal deductions.

He also urged government at all levels to create recreational facilities for retirees, saying, “They can be given loans for managing farms or small scale industries. They could be relevant in curriculum development centres, libraries and churches.

“I am therefore using this medium to advise the Federal Government to create a ministry for pension industry, as the problems of senior citizens call for pragmatic approach.”

Meanwhile, majority of retired workers since 2011 are yet to collect their gratuities while local government and state pensioners are being owed three and one months pensions respectively.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, however, assured that his administration would start paying outstanding pension arrears and accumulated gratuities of retired workers as from next year.

Akeredolu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Labour Matters, Alaba Isijola, said necessary measures were being put in place to ensure that pensioners in the state receive their pension and gratuities regularly.