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We have put a stop to pensioners’ woes, says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari (middle); Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari (fifth right); Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige (fourth); Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma (third right); Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed (second right); Leader of delegation, Alhaji Musa Ayuba Dalhatu (sixth right), during a visit by members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners to the Villa…yesterday PHOTO: NAN

Meets With Cherubim And Seraphim Leaders, Seeks Victory Prayers At Polls
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his administration has succeeded in halting the woes and other forms of dehumanisation faced by federal pensioners by ensuring full payment of their entitlements and backlog of arrears as and when due.

The President spoke when he received a delegation of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), led by its acting president, Musa Ayuba Dallatu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

In a related development, the President, while playing host to the leadership of Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria at State House, Abuja, where he commended the group for its fervent prayers for the administration and the government, particularly as the general elections approach.


He said: “I am very grateful for this visit. God will answer our prayers. With your prayers, we will go into the field and be victorious. Your good intentions and prayers are appreciated. This is what is expected of institutions working for God.”

The President said he was glad that the delegation appreciated the good work being done by government in the areas of infrastructure, anti-corruption and security, noting: “It will encourage us to do more. We have no other country than Nigeria and we must do the best for her. I said it more than a generation ago. Thank you for identifying with our objectives.”

According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari declared that the welfare of pensioners had remained a priority for his administration since May 2015, noting that the retirees deserve timely payment of their emoluments, recognition and respect for their work and dedication to the country during their active working years.

“In recent times, pensioners were ignored, neglected and even persecuted. We have put a stop to that. As you yourselves have confirmed today, we have begun regular payment of monthly pensions and payment of backlog of arrears.

“The Federal Government released N45billion accrued rights for the contributory pension scheme and N22.4 billion to start payment of ex-Nigeria Airways pensioners,” he said.

The President told the pensioners that the federal government also bailed out states to address salary and pension arrears, including Paris Club refunds, even as he had authorised schemes for the restoration of Niger Delta Steel Company pensioners, NITEL/MTEL pensioners and Biafra Police war veterans pensioners.

Reviewing the actions taken so far by the administration in connection with the pension industry, the President said the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has saved N4.9trillion per annum as a result of payroll cleanup under the civil service verification exercise, saying the directorate that supervised the payment of pension arrears to over 50,000 verified civil service pensioners also oversaw the payment of N917.6million to 432 war retirees.

According to the President, under his watch, PTAD completed full payment of N5.8 billion to Police retirees in August last year, while in November same year, N13.7billion was paid to parastatal retirees and N18billion to civil service pensioners.

“These few examples testify to government’s positive impact on pensioners’ lives. In addition, we achieved huge savings in budgetary provisions through the elimination of ghost and duplicated details.

“We have restored qualified pensioners arbitrarily removed from the payroll, thus bringing succour and hope to senior citizens, thereby improving the confidence of the entire county in government and its policies,” he said.

On the requests by the pensioners, including the implementation of the national policy on pension parity and the national policy on social security on health and other related matters of the elderly, the President promised to do all within his powers to address them, subject to the availability of funds.

Leader of the delegation also sought the President’s intervention on the five per cent counterpart funding for the payment of local government pensioners and retired primary school teachers, which was arbitrarily stopped in 2010.

Dallatu appealed for the payment of outstanding pension arrears, gratuities and death benefits that have accrued over the years, among others.

Commending the President on the regular payment of pensions, Dallatu said: “We are bold to say without fear or favour that you have made our lives better than you met it in so many areas, including regular payment of monthly pensions.

“It is an incontestable fact that since the advent of this government under your leadership, payment of monthly pensions has been more regular than ever. In fact, if the truth must be told, Mr. President, we have never had it so good.”

Leader of the Cherubim and Seraphim delegation, His Most Eminence, Prophet Solomon Adegboyega Alao, urged Buhari to remain resolute, especially in the fight against corruption, stressing: “We anticipate that corruption, which is killing Nigeria, may fight back, but you will prevail, because majority of Nigerians are with you.”

The clergyman further asked the President to facilitate the release of Leah Sharibu, being held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to renounce her faith, canvassed a level playing field for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free and fair polls and a consideration of the clamour for restructuring of the federation.

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