Senator Kelvin Chukwu Laments Poor Welfare Condition Of Pensioners
The Senator representing Enugu East, Senator Chukwu, Chizoba Kelvin has urged the Federal government to address the travails of Pensioners, their Next-of-kin and deceased relatives over unpaid pensions, gratuities and other entitlements.
He made this plea while leading the debate on his motion titled: The need to address the travails of Pensioners, their Next-of-kin and deceased relatives over unpaid pensions, gratuities and other entitlements.
The lawmaker noted that many cases of undue delay, sufferings and trauma our senior citizens and family members are subjected to over unpaid pensions, gratuities and other entitlements of their loved ones who have spent a chunk of their productive years toiling and serving the country meritoriously is now alarming.
He said “ Due to bureaucratic bottlenecks and endemic corruption in the payment process, the situation has subjected many pensioners to abject penury, with some even dying in queues of protracted and never-ending verification exercises that yield little or no result whatsoever.
“A time when pensioners are supposed to be enjoying their lives after spending their youthful years serving the country, the reverse is the case in this country, as the monthly dues of many of them are delayed for months and even years sometimes.
“The prevailing issues include the non-payment of outstanding arrears to scores of pensioners, non-enrollment of thousands of pensioners on the pension payroll, non-payment of death benefits to deserving
Next-of-Kin, non-implementation of payments to pensioners to reflect the salary review and payment of pension in line with relevant increases in the minimum wage and the snail’s pace at which pension payment is being processed.
“This is made worse by improper keeping of records, unscrupulous officials who demand different documents and call for similar verification exercises time and time again, and some who engage in underhand dealings to process payments, coupled with brazen failure to sanction defaulters
“The administration of pension funds has been allegedly enmeshed in unprecedented corruption over the years with some public officers, institutions of government and even banks all complicit, generously helping themselves to filthy lucre while denying pensioners their due in the process.
“The government’s undignified silence and inaction most times on this very grave matter in spite of sustained criticism and complaints by concerned citizens has been shocking.
“Except pensioners receive fair and prompt treatment, the country is unwittingly encouraging the propensity of civil servants to be corrupt, as a career in civil service is no more attractive, especially as senior citizens are treated shabbily. It goes further to speak of our value system, as any society that cannot treat its elderly citizens with care, respect and dignity advertises its disregard for values.
“Considering the fact that our senior citizens are no longer very relevant in the labour market, the government must do something drastically to ameliorate the trauma and sufferings of pensioners. After many years of hard labour, a worker is indeed entitled to some peace and security at old age, he added.
In supporting the motion, Senator Abdul Ningi, (Bauchi central) quoted the capitalist system which looks at the haves and have nots. Noting that developed countries take cognizance and makes provisions for the elderly. “For us to reduce corruption, we should put in place pensions and means of livelihood of the senior citizens. He commends the sen Kelvin for bringing up the matter on the floor of the senate.”
Lending his voice also Sen. Amos Yohanna, (Adamawa North) urged the relevant committees to work hand in hand to achieve the prayers of the motion. “It is morally right that after one serves a country that he is been recognized and paid his or her gratuity.”
In adopting the motion, the senate condemned in the strongest of terms, the dastardly acts committed against some senior citizens of Nigerians, as this is the height of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
The senate resolved to urge the senate committee on establishment and public service matter to conduct an investigation to the delayed payment of pension by National Pension Commission and the Pension Transitional Directorate Arrangement (PTAD) and report back in four weeks