Tuesday, September 9, 2014 10:39 pm
Hundreds of retired public servants under the aegis of Association of Contributory Retirees Tuesday protested the non-payment of their pension totalling N16.9 billion.
The angry protesters who disrupted economic activities in parts of Asaba, capital of the Delta State, over the non-payment of their pension, carried placards bearing inscriptions such as “Uduaghan pay us our pensions,” “Pay us our N16.9 billion,” “Retirees are dying,” “Gov. Uduaghan stop this Fraud,” “Save our souls,” “Pensioners are dying due to non-payment of pension.”
The ex-workers, many of whom looked frail , burst into songs on the ever busy Okpanam road, complaining of government failure to pay their pensions.
Chairman of the group, Ovwiroro Ajueyitsi Eric, warned of mass rallies and a sympathetic strike action by labour unions, except the Delta State government issues an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO) for their payment to the Accountant-General of the Federation by 30 October.
He said the State government contravened Pension Reform Law 2008, section 16, subsection 1-6, and also defaulted in payment of 5 percent of the monthly wage-bill of its employees into the Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Fund (RBBRF) account with the CBN which had accumulated to over N16.9 billion as at December 2013.
Eric further accused government of irregular payment of its 10 percent counterpart contribution into the retirement savings account of contributory retirees, just as he blamed government for delays in the payment of retiree benefits up to two-three years; and the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) for delaying payment into retiree’s savings account for up to six months.
According to him, the group viewed with discontent and regards the various implausible reasons proffered by relevant Delta State Government officials as mischievous and a ploy to delay indefinitely the payment and deny contributory retirees of their benefits.
He also said that they “shall not hesitate to mobilize to carry out massive rallies in Asaba, Agbor, Warri, Kwale, Ughelli and also sensitize the Delta State public workers, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Joint Negotiating Council to commence Industrial action against the State government to compel them to honour and obey the Pension Reform Law 2008 signed by Governor Uduaghan.”
The protesters later marched to the State House of Assembly where they failed to seek audience with the leadership of the House.