- 2023 Pensioners and Older Persons Day Marks Appreciation and Raises Ongoing Concerns
In a noteworthy development, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has extended its gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for authorizing a N25,000 wage award intended to serve as a palliative for federal pensioners across the country. The commendation was delivered by Mr. Godwin Abumisi, the National President of the NUP, during the commemoration of the 2023 Pensioners and Older Persons Day, held in Abuja.
The thematic focus of this annual event was “Subsidy Removal and its Negative Effects on the Lives of the Pensioners/Older Persons.” During his address, Mr. Abumisi expressed the union’s profound appreciation for the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the well-being of pensioners, particularly in light of the palliative measures provided.
He urged swift action in the disbursement process and placed trust in the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the payment. The objective is to alleviate the prevailing hardships experienced by pensioners and older individuals.
Additionally, the NUP President called upon the government to extend the duration of the wage award payments from three to six months, aligning them with the duration of similar benefits provided to regular workers. To ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of these funds, Mr. Abumisi suggested that government agencies with accurate database records, such as the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), oversee the disbursement process.
Mr. Abumisi also highlighted the persistent challenges faced by NUP members. These challenges include the urgent need for pension harmonization, the omission of the 2015 pension review, and the outstanding arrears related to pension increments of 15 percent, 33 percent, and consequential adjustments dating back to 2007, 2010, and 2019. The delayed release of monthly accrued rights to contributory pensioners has inflicted considerable hardships, with the accumulated accrued rights reaching approximately N140 billion.
In a plea to the Federal Government, Mr. Abumisi urged prompt intervention to prevent untimely deaths among this group of pensioners. He also implored President Tinubu to expedite the payment of the outstanding N33 billion owed to Nigeria Airways workers.
The choice of the event’s theme was particularly pertinent, reflecting the current economic challenges brought about by factors such as the removal of fuel subsidies. This statement by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners underscores the continued issues and concerns that pensioners face in Nigeria while emphasizing the crucial role of government support and intervention.
This development represents a significant step towards addressing the needs of pensioners, and it reaffirms the government’s commitment to the welfare of this vital segment of the population.