By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State government on Monday began the payment of pensions and gratuities to its retirees.
No fewer than 560 retirees, who served in both the state and local governments, are to receive their entitlements in the first phase of the payment which will last one week.
The Director General of the state Pension Board, Alhaji Usman Tinau Mohammed, who performed the symbolic presentation of cheques to some of the retirees in Minna, did not disclose the amount set aside by government for the payment.
Mohammed told a group of retirees at the state pension board premises, where the event took place, that 2014 retirees would be the first group to receive their entitlements.
According to him, retirees in Zone B made up of nine local governments with 81 retirees, would receive their cheques between Monday and Tuesday this week, while 82 retirees in Zone A will get their money between Wednesday and Thursday with the 74 retirees in Zone C getting their cheques between Friday and Saturday.
Mohammed appreciated the state government for releasing money for the payment even with the limited resources available.
Some of the pensioners, who spoke to newsmen after receiving their cheques, expressed gratitude to God for making them enjoy the fruit of their labour.
Meanwhile, the state government is set to resume the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for all category of public sector workers which was suspended about three years ago.
A committee to work out the modalities for the resumption of the policy has been set up with the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, as its chairman.
Other members of the committee are the Secretary to the State Government Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, the state Head of Service, former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the TUC, NLC and the NULGE chairmen, as well as the former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Mohammed Mohammed.
Others on the panel are the permanent secretaries in the Ministries of Finance and that of the Cabinet and Security Office, as well as the chairman of the Civil Service Commission in addition to the Director General of the state pension commission.