By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
As part of its effort to comfort the pensioners under its jurisdiction, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has put on its payroll and paid the pension arrears of 4,438 qualified pensioners who were verified late 2015 in the North-west and South-east zones of the country.
PTAD had in November 2015 carried out the verification and biometric capture of civil service pensioners in both zones. At the end of the exercise, a total of 28, 352 pensioners were verified. Of this number, over 11,000 were either found not to be enjoying their monthly pension or had filed a complaint at one time or the other on some outstanding pension benefits.
A statement from the office of Executive Secretary, PTAD, said after necessary computations and further checks by government auditors, the management of PTAD had approved the payment of the pension arrears of 4,438 pensioners who have been completely omitted from monthly pension and had endured long years of neglect and suffering.
With the recent appointment of Sharon Ikeazor, as the Executive Secretary of the pension agency, the verification exercise which had stalled since December 2015 has now resumed in the North-east states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
THISDAY gathered that an estimated 6,000 pensioners were expected to be verified in the four centres in Yola, Bauchi, Gombe and Jalingo before December 6, 2016, when the exercise is due to close in the zone.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently assured Nigerians that the present administration’s reforms would ensure that those who spent their productive years serving the nation would not experience difficulties in getting their pensions.
The president spoke during a meeting he had with the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Ikeazor, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as he directed a speedy completion of the on-going nationwide verification of pensioners.
President Buhari stressed that the exercise was necessary because the success of the administration’s goal of putting in place an efficient pension scheme hinged on the availability of a reliable database.
In a presentation to the president, Ikeazor said the PTAD management was determined to restore dignity to pensioners by protecting their funds and paying their entitlements promptly.
The Executive Secretary also said in line with the anti-corruption posture of the current administration, the PTAD had put measures in place to ensure accountability, compliance with regulations and zero-tolerance for corruption.