Bauchi 20 pensioners die fighting for pension payment

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By: Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi
Bauchi State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) has expressed worry over 20 of its members who gave up the ghost during the on-going verification of pensioners in the state.
The union chairman, Alhaji Abu Gar told New Nigerian in Bauchi Monday that the state government was insensitive to the plight of pensioners, treating them inhumanly, culminating in all forms of hardships and various ailments.
He said that the N60 million approved by the state government last Friday following the pensioners protest rally to the Government House could not in any way settle pension backlog they are owed by the state government.
The Chairman disclosed that the sum of N235 million is needed for the pensions backlog of over 3, 000 pensioners who were yet to get their cumulative monthly stipends following the prolonged verification exercise that cost the lives of some of them.
Alhaji Abu Gar also revealed that of the 7, 527 members the union had, the state government has between last and this month settled the pensions backlog of 4, 002 pensioners with over 3, 000 languishing in misery awaiting their turn.
“As I’m talking to you now, hundreds of our members have besieged the State Secretariat, venue of the verification exercise voicing out their grievances to attract sympathy of top government officials on their plight”.
He blamed that State Accountant General, Mr. Abubakar Gabi for compounding the problems of pensioners with vituperations that the number of pensioners in the state is becoming increasingly higher, a notion he argues, brought about their inhuman verification.
Gar stated that it is unbecoming of the state government for anybody to hear that it is unable to pay pensions to those that have labored in sweat for thirty-five years in service, saying “It is absurd for the government to act in such a manner.
“To be candid, Bauchi has failed in regular payment of pensions and truly the whole mess-up was caused by the Accountant General of the state who fired the first salvo on the issue of ghost pensioners for government to leverage on it”.
According to him, the system was beclouded by the scenario where retired top civil servants delegates their children drawing their pension through ATM cards which delegations continues unabated even after the pensioners’ death.
The chairman therefore strongly advised the state government to live up to its responsibility of ensuring regular payment of pensions rather than dwelling on frivolities to deny pensioners their legitimate rights or privileges.
He further explained that of the over 3, 000 pensioners awaiting their take, some are being owed 4 months while others two months pension, recalling that of all the verification exercises being carried out since the creation of the state in 1976, the current one is the worst of its kind where pensioners die during  verification.
Alhaji Abu Gar also disclosed that the union will soon take the plight of its members to the State House of Assembly for the lawmakers who were the representatives of the people to deliberate on both sides of the coin, government and pensioners for possible legislation.

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