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Still on pensioners' dilemma

Published by Tribune on Mon, 27 Feb 2012

Deliberate use of government machineries or system to exterminate lives without legal or judicial process is a crime. Thus goes the ugly scenario I intend to illustrate with instances for the sake of the public and the governmental authorities.Rest is sweet after labour; and such should be 'retirement after long service - years in government but alas! the reverse is the case.Retirees are subjected to social tribulations, emotional discomfort, mental torture and even sometimes, early deaths from the system they have helped to develop and served in their productive period or the prime of their lives.The government pension-arm or departments at the three-tier system of government levels (LGA, state, federal) are used as apparatus in the process of murdering pensioners, because they disburse the bulk of pensioners' vote to both living and ghost pensioners. The pension admininistration officers in the various strata of the government identify and create ghost workers to siphon pension votes into private accounts as revealed and discovered in recent investigations. The pension account officers use pensioners' accounts to defraud (syndicate-system) the pensioners' votes into their fictitious systemic syndicate account pools.The pensioners are prevented or barred by the government's policy, which deny them access to the votes- account, in order to keep pension accounts close or make it an official secret to enable the accountants or account-officials to dispense pension votes, account and audit their books themselves.Pensioners can monitor and audit their accounting system as external supervisors or unbiased umpires.There are no functional or active pensioners' committee in the three tiers system of governance, House of Representatives and the Senate should see to the pensioners'-welfare and monitor the pensioners vote or budget allocations, as there are no elected pensioners in government.The current pensioners were once the civil service workforce and engine, who built, developed, ran and sustained the government. The pensioners were the civil servants that have stake in the present government which should grant the Pensioners Health Insurance Scheme (PHIS), alongside other civil servants. The pension votes disbursement are left in the hands of fraudulent officers, who fix them in private banks on long-term to generate interest into their private accounts, thereby hoarding pension funds and causing interrupted or irregular payment of pension allowance or disbursement as at when due.As a retiree, I am yet to be informed or learn of any appropriate 'Pension Review' for a long period of time. The pension allowance has never been affected by salaries or wages review policy of any government (LGA, state, federal) even when laws on provisions by states that pension allowance should be reviewed periodically alongside the economic review of salaries and wages in the country. The recent wages and salaries review is an instance of pension stagnation or policy aberration and punishment for pensioners of the land.The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), and its affiliates (TUC, NUT, TPA, and NLC) is a toothless bull dog even though an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress/Nigeria Union of Teachers, hence, cannot impact on government on the implementation of policy affecting their members. All the fiscal fraud on the pension accounts, at all government levels has been never condemned. The pensioners association lack economic and official force to demand for the enforcement of the labour and retirement laws.Implementations of welfare scheme and rights of the pensioners of the land. The relief and hope currently provided by the contributory pension scheme of the Pension Fund Managers is palliative to the prospective pensioners' population. Is minimum pension feasible now in the Nigeria economy' (Ref. The Guardian, Thursday, September 15, 2011) - Abdulwaffed OmarSome pensioners in politics or government exhibit nonchalant attitude to the welfare and economic wellbeing of their helpless pensioners in Nigeria. They do not help matters, because they are economically comfortable. They should be conscious of their emergence from various works of Nigerian life into politics, since there are no schools of politics or ministry of politics. They are supposed to be their brothers' keepers and associates of pensioners. Some charitable Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) established old people's homes, infirmaries to accommodate old retirees, pensioners and senior citizens. Such organisations all over Nigeria, are run with donations and funds generated from churches, mosques, clubs, companies, institutions, organisations, and foreign aids. Not even an annual allocation or subvention from government is provided for in the budget for senior Nigerian citizens. A few state governments have free health care scheme for children under six years and adults above 60 years. The Federal and state governments have no health care scheme or insurance policy for their pensioners, who are aptly referred to as senior citizens or do I say Used and Dumped Citizens (UDC).The fear of post-service years has developed into a ghost, haunting the prospective pensioners in government and even in the private sector who aspire for a comfortable post-retirement life. This phobia result in criminal tendencies of accumulation of wealth prior retirement.When a pensioner is socio- economically strangulated by deliberately withholding his/her monthly stipend then, he/she is suffering from EXTRAJUDICIAL agony that could culminate in an untimely death.Olajide wrote in from Lagos.
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