Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National President of the Nigeria
Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr Abel Afolayan has said that the government’s actions and inactions with regards to paying pensions have killed more pensioners this year than COVID-19.
Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, Dr Afolayan while lamenting the dire situation of pensioners across the country, said that NUP has not lost any of its members to COVID-19 but rather, have lost many due to the hardship caused by the nonpayment of pensions.
The National President said: “May I clearly state this today, that it is not Corona or any other virus that is killing pensioners, elderly people and senior Citizens generally, it is the government’s actions and inactions that are sending them to their untimely early graves.
“Our loud unanimous call to the Federal and all State governments is to ensure that pensioners’ welfare is made number one in whatever they do at all times. Through visits, press releases and other legitimate means, we shall continue to put pressure on them and cry to high havens that they should humanly address pensioners problems and stop killing them instalmentally.”
Dr Afolayan went on mention specifically Imo state and Benue state, saying that the situation of pensioners is terrible and “subhuman”. He said Benue state is owing between 24 and 40 monthly pensions but has not paid despite visits to the state governor. The President went on to say that all thirty-six states are owing pensioners.
“Most states are owing, we cannot say there is any state that is not owing. Kano is trying, they are not owing pensions but they are owing gratuities. That’s the same case with Federal Government. There is a backlog of gratuities due to be paid from 2006. There is arrears and benefits of deceased pensioners that are supposed to be paid to their next of kins.
“The Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria is clear that pensions should be reviewed every five years but the last time that pension was reviewed last is 2010. It was supposed to be reviewed in 2015, but it wasn’t. It is also supposed to be reviewed in 2020, but nothing yet,” the president said.