Pension unions disagree over check-off deductions

Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Umar

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

Officials of the Federal Civil Service Pensioners and the National Union of Pensioners on Thursday exchanged words over check-off dues accrued from the payment of pension arrears.

The FCSP had in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, asked him to stop the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate from paying the check-off dues to its rival union, but the NUP said the FCSP had no legal authority to speak for federal civil service pensioners.

The PTAD had released N70m to the pensioners, which is one per cent of the N70bn check-off dues accruing from the payment of pension arrears.

But addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the National Chairman of the FCSP, Omeiza Sunday, said that the protracted impasse between his group and the NUP was occasioned by the latter’ refusal to give his union the 55 per cent share of the check-off dues accrued to the FCSPB.

Sunday explained that the Police, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Departments under PTAD, and all the 36 councils of the union which are affiliates under the NUP umbrella collected their check-off dues directly from the source of payment.

He said, “It should be clearly stated that every other affiliate member collects its check-off dues from the source of payment and remit to the national headquarters of the union in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the union.

“But the case is not the same with the Federal Civil Service Pensioners. This exceptional act of deprivation of the rights and privileges of the branch calls for serious concern.”

According to him, when his union could no longer tolerate the excesses and infractions by the NUP, it sought the intervention of the labour minister, “a development that infuriated the NUP leadership and it illegitimately constituted an eight-man caretaker committee all in contravention of the constitution.”

But in a swift reaction, the NUP spokesman, Bunmi Ogunkolade, described members of the FCSP as “disgruntled few elements who are seeking attention because they lost out during power-play before the dissolution of past executive members. They have no locus standi any longer to claim to speak for federal civil service.’’