Federal pensioners lamented that the Federal Government used their 10 months’ unpaid contributory pension to support the presidential campaign project of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The retirees which alleged that the action had exposed them to untold hardship, made the accusation at a press conference in Abeokuta, Ogun state, while protesting their unpaid monthly allowance.
The over 100 pensioners carried banners with messages such as “We have suffered enough after 35 years service to our fatherland”; “PenCom is owing retirees 10 months arrears of unpaid pension and gratuities”; and “N4.6 trillion has been used for campaign, Abi na lie”.
Samuel Kojusola, the leader of the protesters disclosed that no fewer than 20 of their associates had died in the struggle to have their pension paid. He said the group had noticed some irregularities in the government’s implementation of the Reform Act 2014.
Kojusola listed the irregularities to include; calculation and compilation of retirement welfare, the meagre amount paid as monthly pension, the review of pensions and non-payment of retirement benefits.
He said it was appalling that workers all over the country who had retired under the contributory pension scheme since August 2014 are yet to have their lump sum or monthly payment settled by the institution.
“What do they want the retiree to be eating after serving Federal Government of Nigeria for 35 years meritoriously? We suspect that our money in the kitty of Pencom has been used for 2015 electioneering campaign,” Kojusola said.
The protest leader also claimed that, almost a year after the Pension Reform Act 2014 was signed into law, contributory pensioners in Nigeria are yet to enjoy any increment in their pensions since 2007.
The chairman reiterated that pension review was a constitutional right of any retiree in Nigeria as enshrined under Section 15(4) of the new Act.
“Retirees have been complaining seriously on meagre amount paid as monthly pension either as monthly withdrawal or annuity. Contributory pensions received only 20-25% of their last pay as monthly pension, while a pensioner in the old pension scheme receives 80% of his last pay as monthly pension,” he said.
It should be noted that retired workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria as well as the National Electric Power Authority pensioners have recently asked the federal government to intervene in the supposed non-payment of their pensions.