Regina Otokpa Abuja The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has warned the Federal Government to apply caution in its decision to delist 23,089 parastatals’ pensioners from its payroll, in order to avoid chaos in the system.
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) had, in a letter dated 9th July, notified the NUP of its decision to remove the affected pensioners from its payroll for failing to undergo the verification exercise for pensioners of treasury funded parastatals and the universities under the Defined Benefits Scheme.
According to PTAD, the decision was a follow up to a “review and analysis” of the field verification exercise it carried out for pensioners between April and November 2019, and a follow-up exercise held at the PTAD headquarters in Abuja and Lagos Liaison Office up until the lockdown.
Additional information attached to the letter signed by the Director, Parastatals Pension Department, Kabiru Yusuf, for the PTAD Executive Secretary, had revealed that a total of 2,220 pensioners affected by the decision, were retirees of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
But in a letter written to the Executive Secretary of PTAD, the NUP warned that it was not possible that the entire 23,089 pensioners on the submitted list were dead, sick or did not attend the verification exercise earlier conducted by PTAD.
The letter, with ref: NUP/ NHQ/SB/23/Vol.1; dated 11th August 2020 which was signed by the General Secretary of NUP, Elder Actor Zal, and sighted by newsmen yesterday in Abuja, advised PTAD to carefully cross check its facts and records in order to avoid the outrage that may follow if done haphazardly.
While expressing shock over the staggering figure, the union demanded that PTAD should, among other measures before implementing its decision, publish all the names in at least three national newspapers to create necessary awareness at home and abroad for the pensioners involved.
The letter reads: “We would like to appreciate the painstaking efforts of PTAD in carrying out the last parastatals pensioners’ verification through the length and breadth of the country.
The thoroughness and professionalism of your staff needed to be applauded and commended as well. “However, the union was shocked at the staggering figure of 23,089 pensioners about to be yanked off the payroll for various reasons.
“While we will not support continued payment of monthly pension to those pensioners who did not undergo verification, we are, however, of the firm belief that not all the entire 23,089 pensioners on the attached list are dead, sick or even did not attend the aforesaid verification. It is glaringly impossible.
“Therefore, we want to seriously appeal that you painstakingly cross check your facts and records very well and be double sure of the names involved before removing them finally from the payroll.
“Experience over the years has shown to us that it is always easier to remove names from payroll than to restore it. Remember, pensioners monthly payment is a matter of life and death for the pensioners as many of them do not have any other means of income to survive.
Moreso, they are aged, vulnerable and endangered species exposed to numerous health challenges.”