Settlement of arrears of pensioners

I believe one may speak the minds of majority of pensioners if I say well-done or kudos to the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the immediate release (cash-backed) of outstanding arrears of retirees under the Federal Government. I saw on the screen few days ago, when the House of Representatives under the able and distinguished leadership of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara granted audience to the Ministers of Budget and Finance including our untiring President of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners where the Honourable House was appraised of the directives of Mr. President on the payment of some hefty amount as pension arrears.

Without much ado, mention must be made of the untiring efforts of the present committed Director of PTAD. The Lady has surpassed all her predecessors combined that handled pension administration through her unwavering commitment to duty and very good manners and physical handling of the pensioners during the exercises of verification dutifully covered by the press.

This was a departure from the unhealthy past which should not be allowed by stakeholders to rear its ignominious head again. The Director recently stood her ground and rid the place of overtime cargo and replaced them with those she had confidence they would not disappoint the government and the teeming Pensioners.

Easing out such pretenders in good time would save the directorate from future possible embarrassment. Far reaching measures must be seen to be carried out to reposition this important component of public administration for optimum performance.

Pension is a right under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for those qualified to enjoy it. The National Assembly’s recent posture on the matters of pension arrears and matters connected therewith had identified that high arm of government with the plight of the pensioners for which we are indeed grateful. Coming to the States and Local Government levels, the abject penury in which some retirees live is better imagined than seen. It is questionable if the affected elected local administrations harbour any conscience at all.

I join many Nigerians in appealing to our beloved and listening President Muhammadu Buhari to make it mandatory for States to settle all issues of gratuities of retired workers who are currently languishing under the difficult circumstances they found themselves. All constitutional means at the disposal of federal authorities should be brought to bear on recalcitrant State Governors that turn their backs at their retired citizens who contributed immensely to what Nigeria is today. DAILYTRUST.M

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