21st April, 2021

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has said that it has resolved to organise a mass protest beginning from Abuja on Friday morning to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Outgoing president of the union, Dr Abel Afolayan, made this known while speaking to journalists at the 11th quadrennial delegates conference of the union on Wednesday in Abuja.

Afolayan said the union has issued an ultimatum to the federal government  on the protest, but nothing has been done, adding that pensioners cannot continue like that because the way things are going was very terrible.

He said, “we are protesting because they refused to release the letter of pension increment, consequential upon the minimum wage and salary adjustment to  is yet to be effected, two years after those of the workers have been done.”

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“The welfare of pensioners are 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, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said that the federal government was 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, therefore, 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 of Labour and Employment has taken the lead in ensuring that the review is achieved.

Ngige commended the outgoing national executives of the Pensioners Union for the zest, doggedness and will-power with which they piloted the affairs of the union in the last four years, which had resulted in the achievements recorded by the group.

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% pension increase and full payment of 42 months pension arrears; and the pursuit for the release of N45billion to settle pensioners of the defunct Nigerian Airways, amongst others.

He said, “Distinguished Senior Citizens, Permit me to use this opportunity to inform you that the Federal Government is mindful of your sacrifices and contributions to the Nigerian project and is committed to taking necessary steps to address issues that border on improving your welfare. In this regard,

“My ministry has decided to take the lead on the lingering issue of consequential adjustment to pension of Nigerian pensioners which had been overdue since 2019 when the new Minimum Wage Act was signed into law by Mr. President. In this regard therefore we are hopeful that working with other Agencies of Government, there would be some light at the end of the tunnel.”

In his address, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, decried the plight of pensioners in the country, adding that the condition of pensioners was lamentable.

He said, “In all the sectors of Nigeria economy, it is the efforts and hardwork of pensioners that ensured the successes of Nigeria today.

“I call on governments to prioritise the payment of pensioners as at when due. The issue is not of fund to pay but priority.  Imo state remain the worst in payment of pension.”