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Pensioners Threaten To Picket PTAD IF Demands Are Not Met

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The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has stated that it will shut down operation of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and other agencies of government responsible for the delay in their payment if the government failed to pay the balance of their 33 percent pension increase within 21 days.

Mr Abel Afolayan, the NUP National President made the demands at a news conference in Abuja.

Afolayan said “The payment of the balance of this arrears is long overdue. We had made several submissions and appeals at different fora to the federal government through PTAD for this payment but to no avail.

“The leadership of the union therefore can no longer contain the anger of its members who have been spoiling for a show down with the federal government over the non-payment.

“Consequently, and having been pushed to the wall, we are compelled to issue a 21-day ultimatum to PTAD in compliance with the extant labour laws after which if no payment is made, pensioners would embark on a protest to picket PTAD and other relevant offices connected with this payment.

“I do hope that immediate action would be taken to effect the payment in order to make such a course of action unnecessary, and as a mark of respect for us the elderly and senior citizens of this country.”

He said the Federal Government must take pensioners into consideration while increasing Nigerian workers’ wages.

He said NUP’s demand should not be made to wait until after the release of the new national minimum wage circular, saying this would forestall the union from having “to run helter-skelter’’.

The NUP president said the union would not want a repeat of the experience it had in 2010 concerning the national minimum wage and the pension review.

He said the union was forced then to be running from pillar to post before the pension review was approved.

He said “Suffice it to say our request is in line with the provisions of sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which unambiguously states that “pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews, whichever is earlier”. The last pension review was in July 2010. The next one, in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was due in July 2015.

“Despite our efforts and submissions, nothing has been done in compliance with the above constitutional provisions. This is the reason why the union has been very vocal and unrelenting in restating its position on the call and demand for a new minimum pension alongside the on-going negotiation for a new minimum wage which by all indications will soon be implemented by the federal government.

“It is therefore our humble request, in accordance with the above constitutional provisions that a uniformed national minimum pension be approved for Nigerian pensioners to be the same as any minimum wage.

“In other words, whatever amount is approved as minimum wage for workers should also apply as minimum pension for pensioners. We believe that whatever is good for the Goose is also good for the Gander, as both workers and pensioners go to the same market for their daily needs.

“Regrettably and pathetically too, many pensioners today earn as low as N4,000 per month which is nothing to write home about. With the present economic situation in the country, it is unacceptable and in fact inhuman for a pensioner to earn less than N30,000 which is not even enough to cater for his needs.

While commending the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed for releasing N22.4bn to settle the long-awaited pension liabilities of the defunct Nigeria Airways Staff in liquidation, he wants the government to ensure that pensioners are given equal treatment t with workers in arriving at a new minimum wage for the country.

“This gesture has in no small measure put smiles on the faces of the beneficiaries. Equally, this gesture goes to attest to the fact that the federal government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed a listening government.”