Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
A former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Plateau State, Danladi Jimoh, has described as miserable and despicable the untold hardship that the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under Governor Simon Lalong has inflicted on pensioners in the state.
He described as dishonorable, the deliberate refusal of the Lalong administration to review upward, the N5,000 stipend paid monthly to hundreds of pensioners in the state to enable them meet up with the market reality in the country.
Jimoh disclosed this Wednesday during an interaction with journalists in Jos, saying that the PDP administration of former Governor Jonah Jang was far better than Lalong’s administration in terms of payment of gratuities after retirement from service.
He explained that most pensioners in the state have died of hunger and heart failure over lack of gratuity, while the N5,000 monthly pension is not realistic with the current economic turbulence in the country.
Jimoh, who retired from the Ministry of Water Resources in 2001, was elected by his colleagues in 2004 as chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners.
He said he personally submitted a request for the upward review of pension and harmonization in the state to Lalong in 2016, but nothing has been done till date.
He explained that 70 per cent of pensioners in Plateau State are collecting N5,140 monthly as pension, which he said is nothing considering to the current economic reality.
“To be very honest with you, we really enjoyed the PDP government under Jonah David Jang, he actually took care of pensioners. He was approving N130 million monthly to clear arrears of gratuity, and he was releasing this money on monthly basis.
“Being the chairman of the union then, we pressurized him to attend to our needs and he was forthcoming in terms of addressing our plights. We were negotiating on the need for harmonization and upward review of pension until his tenure came to an end.
“But when the APC government came in, I personally presented the paper to Governor Lalong but up till date, he has not done anything about it. This has led to the death of our members on daily basis because somebody will retire for years without gratuity.
“When you talk, they will say pensioners are being paid monthly and how much are they paying? Do you believe that majority of pensioners are still receiving N5,140 monthly? What can that do in the present day economic reality.
“Most of these pensioners have families of five, 10 and 15 people. What will N5,000 buy for such families? I expected the governor to review upward this pension out of sympathy but he did not,” he said.
Jimoh alleged that the gratuities of retirees are being paid based on loyalty to the APC and who you know in the current government, adding that the dubious practice contravenes the civil service rule.
He called on retirees in Plateau State to work in unison ahead of the forthcoming governorship election, to bring back PDP to power in the interest of the progress of Plateau, and to the benefit of pensioners and civil servants.
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