Governor Ibikunle Amosun
Chairman, Ogun State Council of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Chief Kessington Odukoya, has called for an outright dissolution of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), in order to improve condition of federal payment of pension.
Odukoya made the call while addressing journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to commemorate the 11th edition of Pensioners Day in Nigeria.
He said pensioners are being subjected to hardship as a result of the endless and fruitless verification exercise, which often led to pauperisation as well as impoverishment of the members through irregularities in pension payment.
He also said there were cases of pensioners who retired in year 2000 who participated in all verification but are yet to be pay-rolled; not to talk of receiving their monthly pensions.
Speaking further, Odukoya said many pensioners that have been biometrically captured in the Biometric exercise of 2010 and 2011 are not placed on the pay roll while innumerable numbers remain un-captured.
He said, "We abhor the utter flagrant disregard of Nigeria constitution by both the federal and state government. In July 2010, the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, reviewed upwards the salary of the federal civil servants by 53.4 per cent."
He continued: "The pensioners are yet to benefit from this award in flagrant disregard to section 173(3) in Federal and section 201(3) in case of State, of the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Due to several increases in salaries and wages of workers, there had been a wide disparity in the pension payment."
He, however, said it was disheartening to note that the 5 per cent federal counterpart fund to be paid to each state on behalf of these categories of pensioners were not paid, and added that there were backlog of unpaid pension entitlement in Ogun State to local Government Retirees.
In the union's resolution, he said the Pensioners should be allowed to take proactive part in the management of pension affairs in the country, be it under the old or new pension scheme. He said PRTT should make public report of its 2010/2011 verifications which has been shrouded in secrecy, saying without that members should be prosecuted for short-changing the pensioners.
Odunkoya disclosed that names of 70,000 ghost pensioners purportedly discovered by the PRTT should be made public for purpose of confirmation and records.
In his closing remark, the Secretary of the Union, Bola Lawal, said that pensioners are not allowed to be part of the agencies, adding the Federal Government should review the system of pensioners in the country because members are dying.
Bola commended Amosun for his good gesture to pensioners in the state for discharging their duties effectively as the fourth realm of the nation.