BY MUYIWA OYINLOLA, Abuja
Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) said it has resolved to organise a nationwide protest beginning from Abuja, on Friday morning over upward review of pension. The union said the protest would take it to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja.
Outgoing president of the union, Dr Abel Afolayan, made this known while speaking to journalists at the 11th quadrennial delegate conference of the union, yesterday in Abuja.
Afolayan said the union has issued the federal government an ultimatum on the protest, but nothing has been done, adding that pensioners cannot continue like this, because the way things are going is very terrible.
He said, “We are protesting because they have refused to release the letter of pension increment, consequential upon the minimum wage and salary adjustment to workers, two years after that was done.
“The welfare of pensioners is still terrible. The pensioners are not being treated well at all. Many pensioners are suffering. Some earn as low as N5, 000 and they are not being paid as and when due. Even as we speak now the pension increase, consequential upon the national minimum wage and salary adjustment is yet to be effected, two years after those of the workers have been done.”
Meanwhile, the minister of labour and employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said the federal government is mindful of the sacrifices and contributions of retirees to the Nigerian project and is committed to taking necessary steps to address issues that border on improving their welfare.
Ngige who was represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa said the lingering issue of consequential adjustment to pension of Nigerian pensioners has been overdue since 2019 when the new Minimum Wage Act was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He assured that the ministry has taken the lead in ensuring that the review is achieved.
Ngige commended the outgoing national executive of the union for the zest, doggedness and will power with which it piloted the affairs of the union in the last four years which had resulted in the achievements recorded by the union.
He listed some of the achievements to include successful inauguration of the contributory pension sector at national level; the pursuit for the implementation of 33 per cent pension increase and full payment of 42 months pension arrears; and the pursuit for the release of N45 billion to settle pensioners of the defunct Nigerian Airways amongst others.
In his address, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba decried the plight of pensioners in the country, adding that the condition of pensioners is lamentable.