Mr. Micheal Terngu Vembe, the Benue State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), stated Wednesday that the state needs roughly N70 billion to cover the 108 months of pension arrears owed to pensioners in the state.
This was revealed by Vembe to journalists shortly after the election of new officials of the Nasarawa State chapter of the NUP in Lafia, the state capital.
He did add, however, that the issue of pension payment is a Nigerian issue, not one specific to Benue State.
“The fact is that previous administrations did not work through to the end, and as a result, they left mountains of pension and gratuity arrears in the state,” he says. In May 2018, state pensioners were paid for the last time. Those on the local government payroll were paid in March 2018.
“As a result, they are making payments in arrears. They do not occur at the same time. They are around 74 months in arrears on the ground, just like local government, and the state is about 34 months behind.”
The Benue NUP chairman, on the other hand, stated that the union was working with the current administration in the state and that the administration was actually cooperating with them; however, he lamented that the current administration could not cope because of the large amount of pension arrears.
“The current administration has reached an agreement with PenCom, and PenCom is withholding money from people who work on a monthly basis. It is hoped that at some point in the future, they will be able to obtain an approved loan of up to N70 billion, which will allow them to pay off all of their debts,” he added.
As a result, Vembe urged the newly elected officials of the Nasarawa State NUP to be particularly aware of their responsibilities, saying, “This is not about taking bribes and forgetting about the pension.”