From Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka
FROM the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Anambra State Council, Benjamin Maduka, has come revelation that the group of erstwhile workers has lost more than 300 of its members since 2000 following non-settlement of their entitlements after retirement.
Maduka, who spoke in Awka yesterday, expressed regret that for about 10 years, the Federal Government has not implemented the constitutional provision of increasing pensions after every five years.
He said: “Since their retirement, pensioners in the state who retired since 2000 have not received their federal share of pensions and gratuities. We have lost more than 300 pensioners till date. These were people who had not received their benefits from the Federal Government since retirement”.
According to him, other problems facing the former workers include underpayment, omission of names in the nominal roll and fraudulent removal of pensioners’ accounts by employees of the Pensions Commission in Abuja.
He said the pensioners had expected the Federal Government to increase the pension rates as they had done for the civil servants, noting that they buy from same markets, pay children’s school fees and settle other bills from their pay.
Maduka decried the alleged fraud in the pensions sector and urged the Federal Government to ensure that those found guilty are punished according to the law.
“We are not happy with the fraud going on in the pensions sector. It is unfortunate that some people have made up their minds to steal from the sweat of pensioners, forgetting that some day, they too will be pensioners,” he said.
Also speaking, secretary of the union, Mr. Richard Ndudude, urged the government to eliminate activities of middlemen in pensions management, saying they were the major cause of fraud.
He suggested that the Federal Government should decentralise pensions administration, create zonal offices and allow the offices to take care of the states in their areas with headquarters in Abuja.
Ndudude lamented the activities of touts who claimed to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, alleging that they collect as much as N6,000 from members before accepting their documents in Anambra State.
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