Pensioners threaten mass protest in Abuja over demands; seek N100,000 monthly pension
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) says many members are dying due to hardship caused by the economic downturn.
According to the union, the economic downturn has led to a high cost of living in the country.
NUP president Godwin Abumisi spoke on Thursday when he fielded questions from journalists in Abuja.
Mr Abumisi said the union had lost about 1,500 of its members in recent times due to economic hardship and the high cost of living in the country.
“It is not in our power to distribute food items to pensioners in Nigeria. We do not have the resources. In Nigeria, the government do not think about the poor people.
“Otherwise, how can pensioners in Enugu receive as low as N450 as a monthly pension? We have been saying this, but it seems as if we are crying wolf, but it is a reality,” he said.
The NUP president said many members across the country were still earning as low as N500 and N1,000 as monthly pensions, especially in the South-East states.
Mr Abumis listed the states to include Borno N4000, Gombe N8,000, Jigawa N12,000, Katsina N7,000, Kogi N5000, Kwara N3000, Niger N4,000, and Taraba N5,000 among others, pointing out that it “is important to highlight here that the pension rates are as low as shown above due to the non-harmonisation of pensions, which the union has always made a case for.”
Mr Abumis added, “This is also due to non-implementation and payment of the previously reviewed N18,000 minimum wage in 2010 and the N30,000 minimum wage in 2019 by many states of the federation.
“Sadly, the non-implementation of these salary reviews in the states has affected the corresponding increases in pensions in the various states under reference.
“The union takes exception to and disagrees with the untenable excuses by the state governments that they cannot afford the implementation and payment of the previous wage reviews.”
He said the present administration’s increase in federal allocation to states was unacceptable and unpardonable.
According to him, in the interest of fairness and justice, NUP will propose N100,000 as the national minimum pension to the tripartite committee in line with the proposed N200,000 national minimum wage by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Mr Abumis said anything short of that would incur the wrath of the pensioners who were hard-hit by the prevailing economic hardship occasioned by the ever-rising cost of living.
He also reiterated the union’s call to be included in the tripartite committee on national minimum wage.
“I want to make it clear: I am going to lead Nigerian pensioners in a protest so that the world will see that pensioners are suffering,” Mr Abumis vowed. “We have the authority of our members to call for a mass protest across the country, particularly in the capital city of Abuja, if our demands are not addressed by the federal government.”
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