By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ekiti State chapter has resolved to prayers, approaching God on the payment of their outstanding N37.8 billion gratuities and several months arrears of pensions.
The pensioners also expressed dissatisfaction over alleged non-compliance of the state government with the review of pensions in conformity with section 210, subsection 3 of the 1999 constitution, which mandated that “pensions shall be reviewed every five years alongside the Civil Service Salary”.
They also appealed to Governor Kayode Fayemi to establish the Ministry of Elderly and Senior Citizens, to administer the affairs of elder statesmen and tackle their plights in a manner akin to what the Ministries of Youth and Women Affairs were saddled with.
The Pensioners made this known at a press conference addressed in Ado-Ekiti, the State capital on Thursday, by its Chairman, Com. Joel Akinola.
Akinola, in his speech titled: “Pensioners Are Angry and Seeking Divine Intervention of the Supreme Being for An urgent Solution”, lamented that many of their members received gratuities last in 2012, thereby subjecting them to hardship and unwarranted deaths.
The NUP leader said: “As at December 2021, the state pensioners were owed N18 billion and last paid in 2013. The local government pensioners were owed N19.8bn and last paid September, 2012.
“State pensioners are owed three months arrears of pensions and the local government are owed seven months. We want to say enough is enough. Let them give whatever is due to Ceasar unto Ceasar.
“We have written to all party candidates to come here and tell us how they want to offset the indebtedness. We are their fathers, senior citizens and we are apolitical. We won’t allow them to come here and make promises they will never fulfil.
“In 2018, they came here to make promises to clear the indebtedness within six months, but rather than clearing it, it was increasing. The APC candidate will be here soon. It is we that made this state the Fountain of knowledge, they will come here to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with us and if they fail, we will go to their families and churches to report them”.
Lamenting the sufferings and hardships being experienced by members, Akinola, said many homes had broken when male Pensioners could no longer meet their domestic obligations and witnessed untimely deaths due to inability to pay their medical bills.
Other problems,according to Akinola include: “Failure to pay the school fees of their children in different institutions of learning. Inability to eat nutritious food for survival and depression and hopelessness.
“We request for the establishment of the Ministry of the Elderly and Senior Citizens. It is our belief that the establishment of the ministry like the ministries of Youths and Women Affairs, will be an avenue for the pensioners to lay bare their plights to government”.
Akinola alleged further that inability of the State Government to implement the Consequential Adjustment has consequently caused disparity in the payment of pensions between old and new pensioners.