A group of pensioners recently crippled activities at the National Pension Comimission (PenCom), over failure to meet up with their demands. CYNTHIA OKEKE witnessed the protest
It was a bright and sunny day for most residents of the Federal Capital Territory. However, for workers at the National Pension Commission (PenCom), it was not as bright as a group of protesters besieged the work premises, singing songs of solidarity and demanding for their rights.
The protesters had stormed PENCOM to peacefully demand for their entitlements and to question the irregularities trailing the recent botched employment exercise that took place in the commission.
One of the protesters, who gave his name simply as John, lamented that not only has the Acting Director General of PENCOM, Aisha Dahir-Umar, refused to pay pensioners entitlements, she on no basis suspended the recruitment of those who have been interviewed to take up job positions.
“She suddenly stopped the recruitment exercise of well qualified persons to occupy the position they anticipated to recruit them into and she wants to employ some set of persons she chose by herself.”
Angered by the turn of events, the suspended persons and the pensioners demanded for the immediate removal of the DG, to give room for a more humane and selfless person, who would ensure pensioners get their due entitlements as at when due.
Speaking to Inside Abuja, Felix Ejike, said:”We want her out of that position because she does not have us at heart. We need someone that can take over the affairs of the workers and pensioners passionately. She has been unable to meet up with the demands of workers and pensioners which led to this protest.”
Reacting to the protest, Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr Peter Aghahowa, confirmed that there was irregularities in the employment offer but those concerned were duly notified immediately. Inside Abuja recalls a statement earlier made by The Acting Director General, Aisha Dahir-Umar, that the 10 years arrears owed pensioners and pension liabilities have become a huge challenge for the commission and government.
She, however, stated that pension arrears may soon become a thing of the past, as the current management has prioritized payment of pension liabilities in a way that retirees no longer needed to nurse apprehension about life retirement.
“The commission is putting in place a measure to guard against money laundering by enacting relevant laws while plans were on to settle outstanding pension liabilities.
The commission has also been working with the government to ensure all outstanding allowances are settled.” Pencom served as a member of Inter-ministerial committee that was set up by the President to ascertain the total pension liabilities of the Federal Government under both the CPS and the Defined Benefits Scheme and advice the government on the amount required to be provided in the budget to cover the pension obligation.
“The outstanding accrued rights of Federal Government employees who retired in 2017 well as the amount due to those retiring in 2018, have been submitted for appropriation in 2018 budget and everything have been equal.” She said.
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