As the alleged corruption due to mismanagement of funds continues to raise dust in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), pensioners have expressed readiness to picket the Agency’s office across the country starting from May 6, 2022.
The pensioers hinged their proposed action on the refusal of NSITF to pay their due pensions arising from the Federal Government approved 2019 consequential pension adjustment and refund of computed non-remitted contributory pension reductions.
Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) NSITF Branch, Aham Mbazigwe-Akonye and Secretary, Olutekunbi Ayodele, who made this known at a media briefing in Abuja, said the non-implementation of the consequential adjustment, has caused the death of many pensioners who earn as low as N7,000.
The pensioners therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and Minister of Labour and Employment, who is the supervising minister of NSITF, Chris Ngige, to urgently come to their aid.
They also lamented that their pension was last reviewed in July 2010 (12 years ago).
Calling on President Buhari, who they said has performed best in payment of pension among past presidents to hear their ‘Save Our Soul’ call, they said many of their members have died due to their inability to afford basic drugs and food.
They added that the refusal of NSITF to implement the consequential pension adjustment and make computed refunds amidst the skyrocketing economic hardship in the country, have worsened the living condition of their members who may die if nothing urgent was done.
Furthermore, they urged President Buhari, to prevail on the Management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund to implement the approved consequential pension adjustment for their members without further delay. Therefore they are pleading with Mr. President not to shut his eyes and ears from their predicament but should urgently intervene.
The NSITF pensioners also condemned in strong terms the undue delay by the Fund to pay the un-remitted deductions of their contributory pensions, which were mutually agreed and computed since December, 2021 demanding immediate payment of the money.
“Our members are living in perpetual poverty as life is becoming more difficult due to the harsh economic realities in the country. A situation whereby some pensioners are earning about N7,000 monthly pension is absurd , ridiculous, unthinkable and unacceptable”, said the pensioners.
They further said that “It is pertinent to emphasize that NSITF Management should be guided accordingly. The Management should note that pension payment of NSITF in-house pensioners is purely the responsibility of NSITF under the law and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as it is a self-financing parastatal and not treasury funded”.
“We urge President Muhammad Buhari to prevail on the Management of NSITF to urgently implement and pay our due pensions. Mr President should not shut his eyes and ears to our plea because if he does, our situation will worsen, as it has become the culture of NSITF to ignore our cries for our rights”, the pensioners said.
They also frowned at what they termed “neglect or failure to refund the agreed and already computed unremitted contributory pensions deductions which were deducted between July 2004 and November, 2006 from the wages of workers who are now pensioners.
The duo wondered how NSITF expects corporate organizations and Nigerians at large to trust and register to operate with the Fund under the new scheme, when they cannot handle their in-house pensioners with dignity, equity and human face.
The pensioners also stated that all efforts made by their leadership to get NSITF Management to respond to their many letters in regards to these outstanding issues among others were totally ignored. They also noted how it is the culture of NSITF Management to treat issues concerning pensions inconsequentially.
While they urged the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, to use his good office to intervene in the matter, they also called on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, whose ministry supervises NSITF, to consider the plights of pensioners and mandate the Management of the Fund to treat their requests with deserved attention, sense of equity and justice.