Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Federal pensioners have made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily approve the upward review of the federal pensions.
Chairman, South West Zonal Congress of Federal Pensioners in Federal Colleges of Education, Dr Stephen Fatusin, urged the President to help the poor retirees by approving the increase as the harsh economic realities in the country were worsening the degradation of their quality of life.
Fatusin, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja, lamented that the current situation of pensioners was so bad that some earn as low as N8,000 per month or even less, adding that increasing their earnings will go a long way to alleviate the untold hardship of the poor and old pensioners, many of whom have no other source of income.
He disclosed that as the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria prescribes, the federal pensioners had already been reviewed but was currently awaiting President Buhari’s approval so that it can be implemented.
Recall that the last time federal pensions were reviewed was in the year 2009 when Nigeria still had a robust economy.
Meanwhile, it is on record that federal salaries of the existing workforce were upgraded last year, April 18, 2019 and the salary increase has since been approved, implemented and the workers are now receiving upgraded salaries.
“We must confess that the current administration has been one of the very best among the various governments in this country as regards its disposition to the plight of pensioners.
“Moreover, the organisation set up to take care of pensioners’ welfare, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) is now staffed with worthy directors who are honest, hardworking and sensitive to the plight of pensioners unlike earlier ones,” Fatusin said.
According to him, the currernt Executive Secretary now listens to the outcry of pensioners and insists on doing the just and needful to solve emergent problems while not compromising right standards.
He sympathised with President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration has been haunted by sundry problems ranging from rampaging insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, and rape which has assumed epidemic proportions, and now COVID-19 which has shrunk the economies of most nations, Nigeria inclusive.
“With this array of problems, we need to sound a stringent outcry for Mr President to hear our plight and act. Let him kindly borrow a leave from the practices in the more advanced countries where pensioners’ welfare is given a pride of place in the scheme of things.
“One would expect the omnibus body of the pensioners union, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), headed by Dr Afolayan, to have swung into action to flag repeatedly the plight of pensioners.
“Unfortunately this is not to be. The so called national officers of the NUP appear to take delight only in collection of check off dues and enjoying themselves, leaving the body of poor pensioners to suffer untold hardship. We call on them to lend their voices so that the outcry can be more strident.
“When pensioners’ welfare are given a good treatment, the government sends a good signal to the workforce that their future is secured, but when it happens the way it is now, a wrong signal is perceived by the younger generation who go out of their way to steal with the perverse intention to secure their future. If you treat pensioners very well, you discourage corruption by the active workers,” he said.