Verification of Lagos State pensioners will soon witness a boost as the biometric capturing in the ongoing exercise will be merged with Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) for easy withdrawal of pensions.
The Consultant to the Lagos State verification exercise, Mr. Taiwo Popoola, said that with the merger, retirees would only need to thumbprint in their banks to withdraw pensions.
Popoola, of the Taiwo Popoola and Co., said that frequent pensioners verification had been due to inability to generate biometric information that could be used to verify pensioners’ banking transactions.
He also blamed constant verification on failure of relatives to report death of retirees. The consultant said that there was a database for Lagos State pensioners but it needed to be cleansed regularly due to lack of biometric information.
“This exercise will capture biometrics and obtain BVN to trigger validation. Provision of BVN is critical to this assignment,’’ Popoola said.
According to him, about 9,000 Lagos State pensioners are participating in the exercise going on in selected local government secretariats.
Popoola said that provision was made to seat the retirees comfortably under a controlled environment.
“We provided sequence numbering to avoid stampede. Government hospitals close to verification centres were put on alert to provide prompt ambulance service, if required,’’ he said.
Meanwhile some of the retirees have hailed the state government for putting in place logistics to make the verification easy.
They expressed satisfaction that the government provided seats and sequence numbering as well as made arrangements for ambulances.
For instance, Mrs. Veronica Edoh disclosed that at a verification centre in Surulere Local Government Secretariat that provision of a hall with enough seats for the pensioners prevented collapse of the retirees while queuing.
She, however, called for a reduction in the number of times pensioners would be verified, adding that the government should ensure timely payment of retirees’ entitlements.
“Only a part of my entitlement was paid during Fashola’s administration; I was hoping I would get the remaining balance after we did the November, 2015 verification and another in June, 2016,’’
Another retiree, Mr. Adebola Babajide, also commended the seating arrangement, saying that it saves lives.
Babajide, however, said that the process of verification was slow.
He said that at least two instead of one verification officers should have been attached to a centre to save time.