The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Borno State Chapter has appealed to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to look into the Plight of its members who lost their pension documents while fleeing the Boko Haram terrorists from their respective homes.
Speaking yesterday in Maiduguri during PTAD Fourth Phase of Parastatals Pensioner Verification Exercise For Pensioners and Next of Kin (NOK) of all Federally funded Parastatals, Agencies and Institutions, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), the Secretary of NUP in Borno state, Bukar Alhaji lamented that members who turn up with affidavit of loss of documents are turned down from being captured and verified.
Alhaji said: “I am appealing to PTAD with regard to Borno state to consider the plight of my members who lost their Pension documents to the Boko Haram insurgency in the verification exercise. We have problem of insurgency and many of our pensioners in the process of running for their lives, lost their documents.
“Some of their documents can’t be found. And when they went to court and obtained an affidavit to that effect, at the venue of verification, the verification Staff rejected their affidavits and deny them verification. At times, they will be asked to go back and embark on long process. So Iam still pleading to PTAD to come their aid.
However, speaking on the plight of the pensioners who lost their documents to insurgency, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Executive Secretary PTAD, explained that all that is required from any pensioner who lost document is a cover letter from the employer stating year of employment and retirement attached with the affidavit.
Ikeazor noted that some of them that were rejected only came with affidavit hence they were urged to further produce cover letter from the parastatal or agency they worked before retirement.
She disclosed that a new process has been put on ground whereby on the field, computation of pensioners is carried out and complaints resolved while staff are on the field.
The PTAD Boss said: “We have a new process whereby on the field, we carry out computation of the pensioners and complaints are resolved while we are on the field. We have federal auditors. We have our accountants doing the computation that will be passed to the federal auditors.
“So if we don’t finalise the verification for parastatals pensions which is the fourth department in PTAD, government will never know the true pension liabilities inherited. Right now we are paying over N5 billion monthly as pensions for parastatals alone, excluding miniseries which are under civil service department. We also have the police, the customs, the immigration and prisons pensions among others,” she added.
Ikeazor said incidentally, since PTAD made announcement of verification, it started receiving tons of letters from unions, families and agencies notifying it of the death of some of its pensioners as way back to 2012 and 2013.
“We are dialoguing with families and unions to help identify those who have died to end defrauding government of their pensions by family members, who use Automated Teller Machines (ATM) to make withdrawal of the deceased pension while it is running. This has caused great loss to government and we were able to discover about 24,000 of such fraud,” she added.
Many of the pensioners who besieged the venue of the verification exercise thanked PTAD for the prompt payment of their pensions, saying that since 2015 when PTAD took over management of the pensions, they have been receiving payments as at when due.