Retirees throughout the South West have complained to the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) that state governors owe them N242 billion in gratuities and pensions. Comrade Olusegun Abatan, the union’s zonal public relations officer, stated this during the union’s zonal council meeting in Akure, the state capital of Ondo.
“Despite enabling retirees in their states to live in poverty, some governors went ahead and obtained nomination papers worth millions of naira,” he claims.
The pensioners also chastised the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for not raising their plight with the appropriate authorities.
They insisted that the two unions should take their dispute seriously as soon as possible because they, too, will be retirees in the future.
“The situation of pensioners in the southwest remains the same with unpaid gratuities,” Abatan remarked. Since 2012 and 2013, many of these states in the southwest have owed pensioners. Pensioners owed between N68 billion and N78 billion.
“Ogun State has a debt of N68 billion, Ondo State has a debt of N78 billion, Ekiti State has a debt of N38 billion, and Osun has a debt of N58 billion. Lagos is practically debt-free, thanks to its participation in the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“We discovered that liquidating N68 billion, for example, would take the government 34 years. And this brings to the fore the country’s main labour organizations, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), to reach an agreement with the Nigeria Union of Pensions.
Abatan also expressed his disappointment over the South-West governors’ inability to pay pensioners their entitlements as and when due.
“We are not happy that politicians, particularly politicians of now are not interested in the welfare of pensioners as well as the entire citizenry. And what has really miffed us is that when they were voted into power, they will start policies that are injurious to the service.
“In most cases, you find Governors or even Commissioners sacking workers that have been at work for the past 20 to 25 years. There should be a kind of structure that will not allow workers to be sacked anyhow.
“In relation to our unpaid entitlements, the NUP Southwest Zone, in collaboration with our union’s national headquarters, will soon launch a series of events that will send a message to the world that pensioners will no longer tolerate our governors’ and politicians’ attitudes.”