By: Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Bauchi, Comrade Yakubu Mohammed has disclosed that union members at both the State and Local Government level are owing the government gratuities backlog of about N19 billion.
“We wrote a letter to the Governor on the cumulative gratuities following which the government set up committee to verify gratuity vouchers and it was discovered that N14.6 billion gratuities was accumulated before the inception of the present administration and thereafter to date over N3 billion was accumulated”, he said.
Comrade Yakubu Mohammed, who was speaking to New Nigerian in Bauchi, explained that the committee has since submitted its report to the government that is yet to effect payment of any gratuity, despite the billions of naira accruing in form of bailout and monthly statutory allocations.
The Bauchi NUP Secretary noted that Bauchi’s first bailout from the federal government was N8.6 billion and also recently received the sum of N10.6 billion to settle liabilities whereas not a single kobo is paid to offset gratuity of any languishing pensioner in the state.
“So the state government collected more than N18 billion in the name of liability settlement, but till date not even a single kobo is earmarked for the purpose of gratuity backlog payment”, NUP scribe said.
He further explained that as a result of non-payment of entitlement to pensioners, most of their children were forced to abandon schooling, saying “For one to survive, he must eat, must take care of his health, and so forth”.
The Secretary further revealed that the union office in Bauchi has so far received from its twenty local government branches reported cases of more than 300 pensioners dying while awaiting their gratuities.
“We have good faith when we voted M. A Abubakar that he will wipe out all our tears for the manner previous administration treated us only to realize that this situation is even worse than the previous one”.
Comrade Mohammed stated that the gratuities backlog yet to paid to retirees is the genesis to all their problems, hence the need for the state government to hasten the settlement of pensioners’ entitlements.
Mohammed, also spoke about the constitutional provisions which provides for a review of pensions after every more five years which raised minimum pension from N4, 400 in 2008 to N12, 700 in 2013 through two reviews under the Yuguda administration.
“We have the backing of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution 1999 as amended under section 210 sub-sections 1, 2, 3 that after every five years, pension must be reviewed or when there is increment in workers salary, whichever come earlier”.
Bauchi Govt owes pensioners N19 billion gratuities
By: Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.