By Blessing Oladunjoye |
Rev. Remi Johnson, Chairman, Lagos State Council, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, has revealed that since 2016, the Lagos State Government has not paid pensioners under the Contributory Pension scheme in the state.
Rev. Johnson revealed this while speaking at the Pension Stakeholders Forum organized by Pension Justice. Pension Justice is a Civic Tech organization championing the causes of pensioners in Nigeria.Johnson said the adoption of the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS was supposed to address the numerous challenges faced by pensioners while using the Defined Pension Scheme, DPS but added that it has not relief the sufferings of the pensioners.
Johnson stressed that the disregard for the plights of pensioners is a major reason their issues are not being addressed. He said, “the non payment of pensioner’s entitlement is one challenge, yet another challenge is the nonchalant attitude to the plight of pensioners.”
The Chairman of the Lagos State Council of NPF also identified non compliance with sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the Nigeria Constitution as a great challenge. He stressed that the unconstitutional provisions which provide for review of Pension every five year need to be adhered to.
Earlier, a Senior Manager at the National Pension Commission, names withheld, identified some challenges in the Pension Reform Act 2014, which initiated CPS.
He said the “double and multiple registration for Pension Savings Account because of the lack of biometrics and Delayed redemption of accrued rights by the federal government are some of the shortfalls of the PRA 2014 but the commission is working hard to address this and ensure the welfare of pensioners are adequately catered for.”
Brownson Etimbuk, a fellow of Civic Hive and Team Lead, ConstitutionLab decried the benefits accrued to political office holders after tenure in government and suggested that they should earn pension like every other public servant.
Brownson said, “Politicians should also earn pension like every other worker because some of the benefits they get after their tenure in office is unfair to the masses. These benefits are ways of further impoverishing the public.”
He recommended that there should be legislations which would ensure that certain percentage from salaries of political office holders are paid as pension and that would the only thing they get after leaving office.
Team Lead, Pension Justice, Phillip Asen said the first in the series of the Pension Stakeholders Forum was meant to hear the plights of the pensioners with the purpose of finding a lasting solution.
“We want to hear from the horses’ mouth, gather the necessary information regarding the plights of the pensioners and use them as advocacy tools to engage relevant stakeholders and thereby resolve the challenges that pensioners face.”
Asen also noted that the organization is willing to support pensioners through the ‘Elder Challenge’ where senior citizens would be appreciated with a token.
He explained that, “we initiated the Elder Challenge and we wanted people to post pictures of senior citizens whom #20,000 would make impact in their lives. However, we have adopted a ‘grant form’ format where various senior citizens would fill it and three winners would be given financial support.
“The winners would be selected based on the retirement experience written in the form”, he added.
“We would always want to inform the public that there would be subsequent pension stakeholders forum in the future. And also we will continue carrying out the elder challenge”.