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Pensioners are fuming over government tying pension payment to subsidy

Retirees across the country criticized state governors on Sunday for tying the payment of pensions and gratuities to the removal of fuel subsidies.

The Delta, Cross River, Osun and Kano state chapters of the Pensioners Union of Nigeria separately told our correspondents that it was mean for the governors to make payment conditional on the removal of the fuel subsidy.

The Nigeria Governors Forum, in a statement released after its December 16 meeting and read out by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the Governors had decided to include the regulations of all outstanding pension obligations under the social pact with citizens for the abolition of fuel subsidies.

Pensioners in Delta State have asked the state government to pay them.

Vice President, Association of Contributory Pension Scheme, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Delta State Council, State, Mr. Antony Osanakwu s in an interview with The PUNCH in Asaba condemned the NGF.

He asked, “What is the relationship between our pensions and subsidies? Are the pensions of former governors not paid?

“We have spent 35 years in service. Instead of paying us our pensions, they say our dues will be paid when the subsidy is removed.

According to him, since 2017, the Delta State government has not paid us pensioners.

Kano State Chairman of the Pensioners Union of Nigeria State Chapter Salisu Gwale in an interview with one of our correspondents said the state government owes pensioners 28 billion naira in pensions, gratuities and death benefits.

Regarding the Governors recent statement that they will eliminate the backlog of pensions after the removal of fuel subsidies, Gwale said the Governors had no reason to say so as they were still executing investment projects.

NUP Calabar Branch President Eyo Eyo said: “We have been paid until October. We were not paid for November and December.

Benue State NUP Chairman Mike Vembe, in conversation with one of our correspondents, dismissed state governors’ argument that they could only pay pensioners when the fuel subsidy would be deleted.

Speaking to one of our correspondents, the NUP’s Osun State Chairman rejected the removal of the subsidy as a condition for paying pensioners.

He said the removal of subsidies should not be a condition for the payment of pensioners, as such a condition has never been attached to the payment of severance pay for political office holders.

He said: “We all know the spiral effect that removing subsidies will have on people. If they say that’s the condition, we consider it a “game of hide and seek”. Is this condition attached when holders of political office leave office before having been paid? It is a game of hide and seek and we will not allow them to hide behind the removal of subsidies.

“We won’t take it. We will deal with them. Our common wealth belongs to all of us. They cannot put forward the removal of subsidies as a condition for the payment of pension and gratuities.

“Nigeria is rich enough to do whatever the rulers want to do without adding more burden to ordinary people. We all know that if the subsidy is removed, the effect will be serious. We will not support the removal of subsidies because they want to pay us.

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