The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, North-East geopolitical zone, has called on governors in the North East region, to pay the backlog of their gratuity, estimated to be about N50 billion.
The union also demanded payment of two months arrears to Bauchi State local government pensioners.
Vice-President of the union Alhaji Inuwa Ahmed, who spoke in Bauchi, said it was imperative for governors in the region to pay pensioners their benefits to improve their standard of living.
According to him, “the affected six states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba , Gombe and Yobe. We want the retirees to benefit from what is constitutionally their right after service.
“Paying them their entitlements will enable them carry out their responsibilities such as school fees, feeding and health care. Some of the pensioners in the north have dependants and how can they do that if they are financially handicapped?
We are not happy with the way payment of retirees’ pension are being delayed and this has contributed to the sufferings of our members in the six states in the north-east.
We have sensitized our members on the need to realise that the state governments in the region are working round the clock to ensure that the welfare of retirees in the region improves.”
He commended Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda for harmonising pension for all workers, adding that Bauchi State was ahead of all the states in terms of pensioners welfare, saying pension payment is also updated.”
Also speaking, chairman of state chapter of NUP, Alhaji Habu Gar appealed to the federal, state and local governments to pay a backlog of N9 billion gratuity and two months unpaid pensions of local government retirees in the state.
According to him, “each pensioner in Bauchi State now receives the sum of N12, 700, but the government has not yet paid the two months arrears it owes local government pensioners.
We do not know why the government has delayed the payment of the two months arrears. But the union is appealing that the arrears should be paid to cushion the effects of their sufferings.
“Issues connected to the plights of pensioners in the north have been always relegated to the background, as they are no longer in the work force.
A backlog of N50billion naira gratuity owed to pensioners in six states on the north-east is alarming and we want the federal government to probe into the funds allocated to these states in order to check how the money are spent.
We also want the government to probe into the issue of ghost pensioners who are now receiving pension because such money are diverted into the pockets of some corrupt government officials. The activities of the state pension board should be probed to uncover some of these corrupt practices that is aggravating the sufferings of pensioners in the state.”