THE Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), has demanded approval for N30,000 national minimum pension for pensioners from the federal government alongside the on-going negotiation for the approval and implementation of a National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers.
Addressing a world press conference at the NUP Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday, the President of NUP, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said it would be unacceptable and inhuman for a Pensioners to receive less than N30, 000 per month with the present economic reality.
Dr. Afolayan said: “The main thrust of this press conference is on the need to press for the consideration and approval of the National Minimum Pension for pensioners by the federal government alongside the on-going negotiation for the approval and implementation of a National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers.
“Suffice it to say our request is in line with the provisions of sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which unambiguously states that “pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews, whichever is earlier.”
“The last pension review was in July 2010. The next one, in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was due in July 2015. With the present economic situation in the country, it is unacceptable and in fact inhuman for a pensioner to earn less than N30, 000 which is not even enough to cater for his needs.
“We would like to emphasize again that whatever is finally approved as the national minimum wage should equally apply to pensioners as national minimum pension with a corresponding circular, and not after the release of the minimum wage circular the union would begin to run helter-skelter in pursuance of the release of the pensioners circular as experienced in the case of the 2010 minimum wage and pension review.
“It is also important and imperative to add here that state governments should take a cue from the federal government.” The NUP president regretted that despite their efforts and submissions, nothing has been done in compliance with the above constitutional provisions.
“This is the reason why the union has been very vocal and unrelenting in restating its position on the call and demand for a new minimum pension alongside the on-going negotiation for a new minimum wage which by all indications will soon be implemented by the federal government.
“It is, therefore, our humble request, in accordance with the above constitutional provisions that a uniformed national minimum pension be approved for Nigerian pensioners to be the same as any minimum wage.
“In other words, whatever amount of money is approved as minimum wage for workers, should also apply as minimum pension for pensioners. We believe that whatever is good for the Goose is also good for the Gander, as both workers and pensioners go to the same market for their daily needs,” he said.
Dr. Afolayan pointed out that many pensioners today earn as low as N4, 000 per month which is nothing to write home about. He added that the N30, 000 the Pensioners are demanding is not even enough to take care of their needs.
Dr. Afolayan commended the federal government and the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed for the release of the N22.4bn to settle the long-awaited pension liabilities of the defunct Nigeria Airways Staff in liquidation.
“This gesture has in no small measure put smiles on the faces of the beneficiaries. Equally, this gesture goes to attest to the fact that the federal government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed a listening government,” he said.