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In Edo Retirees cry out over non-payment of pension

They expressed sadness that their respective Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) failed to pay them the monthly stipend from their savings.

  • Published:
Godwin Obaseki play

Godwin Obaseki

(dailymail.com.ng)

Some pensioners in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo, have cried out over the non-payment of their monthly pensions more than a year after retirement.

The retirees, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Auchi on Monday, expressed sadness that their respective Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) failed to pay them the monthly stipend from their savings.

NAN reports that the Pension Reform Act, which came into effect on July 1, 2014, was aimed at regulating the administration of the contributory pension scheme for both public and private sectors.

Under the Act, both  the employer and the  employee are required to make a minimum 10 per cent and eight per cent contributions  respectively every month.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration had introduced the new pension scheme with the aim of addressing the problems associated with the non-payment of pensions over the years by previous administrations.

A retiree, Mr Gabriel  Ojo, told NAN that in spite of efforts at collating, filling and submitting all necessary documents to his PFA after retirement, his PFA had failed to pay his pension.

“I do not know why my PFA has not called me or paid any money into my account. I have filled all the forms they asked me to fill, but I have not heard from them.

“It has not been easy living without monthly income since I retired … my little savings is gradually being depleted,’’ he said.

Mr Sunday Iroghavbe, who retired after 35 years in service, expressed dismay that the delay in the payment of his pension had deterred him from buying some drugs he needs for the management of his health condition.

“I appeal to the PFA to release my money. I cannot understand why I have not been able to receive any money one year after I retired.

“I have to pay house rent, feed my family and take care of my hospital bills as well. But it is becoming very difficult for me to cope without any income since I retired in Dec. 15, 2015,” Iroghavbe said.

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Etsako West, Mr Oshiomah Agbovobor, attributed the pensioners’ plight to the failure of successive governments and PFAs to remit to workers the counterpart deductions they have made from salaries of workers over the years, as required by the Pension Act.

“State governments are unable to pay pensions, yet they owe a backlog of pensions and have no plans or ideas on how to pay.

“Besides, many private sector organisations do not comply with Pension Act regulations requiring them to partner with workers in contributing to the scheme and providing how retires would access their funds.

“When a governor retires, he will go home with benefits, including house, cars and he will continue to receive his basic salary and allowance as former governor until he dies.

“But the civil servant, who has worked for 35 years, when he retires, you will then work out what he will receive. That is the injustice in the entire arrangement,”

Agbovobor expressed concern over the failure of successive governments to harmonize pension increases since 2000.

“From the year 2000, there has not been harmonisation for pensioners;  we have 6 per cent,  we have 15 per cent not given to us,  33 per cent not given to us,” he said.

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