“Our major challenges have been with the state governments, many of whom have become emperors in their various states. They govern with iron hands.”
Nigerian governors have become dictatorial emperors ruling with iron fists, depriving pensioners of their rights, says the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.
“Our major challenges have been with the state governments, many of whom have become emperors in their various states. They govern with iron hands in a democratic setting as ours,” stated the NUP president, Goodwin Abumisi, in a message to mark the 2021 Pensioners Day celebration in Abuja.Abumisi.
The NUP boss added, ”I wish to place on record that payment of monthly pension to the pensioners is a right, not a privilege. I use the occasion of this year’s celebration to call on such nonchalant governors to please, have a change of heart and do the needful before we march to the erring government houses to demand our rights.”
He told governors that prompt monthly pension payment to pensioners is a right and not a privilege, urging governors with a nonchalant attitude toward pensioners to have a change of heart, otherwise, the union would mobilise its members nationwide and match to erring government houses to demand their rights.
Mr Abumisi stressed that the constitution did not prescribe punishment for such errant governors who treat pensioners with disdain.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urge the governors to stop mistreating pensioners.
“It is disappointing and painful to note that while the federal government has released the enabling circular for the much-awaited consequential adjustments of pension, effective from April 2019 and released funds to that effect, most of the state governments are yet to give effect to the circular as released by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission,” added the NUP boss. “This is unfair to the senior citizens. It is time for the governors to act on this matter.”
The NUP, however, commended the “magnanimity of some state governors who have been treating their pensioners with respect and dignity.”
Mr Abumisi lauded Mr Buhari’s effort to improve access to healthcare and promote the wellbeing of the elderly, particularly pensioners, disclosing that plans are underway to implement the pension reviews of 15 per cent, 33 per cent and the consequential adjustment of pension in line with the New National Minimum Wage.
“It is very pertinent for me at this juncture to call on the Federal and State Governments to rise up to the occasion by complying with the constitutional provisions of Sections 173(3) and 210[3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” explained Mr Abumisi. “This stipulates a five-yearly pension increase for state pensioners or together with any workers salary review, whichever is earlier.”
He urged the federal and state governments to “diligently comply with these provisions and not to wait until the retirees become frustrated and agitated before the government begins to run helter-skelter” to douse tension and to forestall the breakdown of law and order.