Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Local government pensioners in Gombe State have expressed their frustration over seeming inaction by the state government in regard to pension payments, complaining that a number of pensioners have died while awaiting benefit payments.
The Gombe State Council of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) raised the alarm on Monday, calling on the state government to expedite action towards the payment of nine years arrears of gratuities owed to local government workers.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Gombe, the pensioners called on state governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya to pay their owed pensions. Their message was put in context by the chairman of the union, Muhammad Abubakar, who petitioned the governor and other stakeholders to intervene in the matter.
‘The last time pensioners of the local government were paid gratuities was in June 2012. By our records, pensioners in that arm of government are owed from June 2012 to 2020. They have not been paid even one kobo gratuity for the past 9 years. It is a pity and very sympathetic, somebody should bail the situation,’ the chairman told newsmen while also lamenting the non-enrolment of pensioners from local government into the monthly pension system.
He mentioned that some retirees have waited for more than a year without monthly pension: ‘A person spent 35 years receiving salaries monthly; after retiring his pensions are not forthcoming. He or she could be on the road to the grave through no fault of his or hers. There are hundreds of such at our local government. Somebody has refused to do his or her work while our people are suffering the blame game continuous.’
Efforts to obtain the state government’s response to the pensioners’ complaints by Daily Sun were unsuccessful as of press time, though the union informed the media that they had been assured that the Yahaya administration would address the matter and ensure payments.
According to Muhammad Abubakar, while campaigning for his election, Governor Yahaya had sympathised with state pensioners: ‘We took his words for it,’ the union chairman said.
‘Unfortunately, it is now more than 8 months [and] no news. We reminded the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to talk to the governor…’