Pensioners under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Contributory Pensioners (NUCP), have called for the immediate review of the Pension Reforms Act, with a view to ensuring inclusion of representatives of workers and pensioners under the contributory pensioners into the Board of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
The group alleged that the old pension scheme is under the purview of Pensions Transitional Administration Directorate, only takes care of pensioners under the scheme prior to the enactment of the new pension regime in 2004, while the interest of millions of Nigerian workers and pensioners who were captured under the contributory pension scheme from 2004 are not adequately represented.
They also called on the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to expedite action on the registration of NUCP by ensuring timely issuance of certificate of registration as provided by the enabling laws.
Speaking in Abuja, chairman of NUCP think-tank committee, Asimiefele Aigbokheleode, accused PenCom of flagrant breach of 13 provisions of the Pension Reforms Act, 2014, as well as payment of pension allowances to retirees under the new pension regime.
According to him, the Commission has over the past few years failed to review the pension allowances despite the upward review of wages of Nigerian workers as encapsulated in the Pension Reforms Act, 2014.
He also accused PenCom of indiscriminate approval of pension allowances to pensioners without approved template.
The Union also frowned at the undue delay by PenCom on payment of total sum of N56.5 billion to offset the 33.5 per cent and 15 per cent accrued arrears of contributory pensioner’s benefits which funds have been released for over two years.
He said that the Commission has embarked on misapplication of funds accrued into the Contributory Pension Scheme through indiscriminate allocation of funds, opening of unknown accounts in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as increase in salaries and allowances of staff of the Commission without the approval of the Board.
“The Pension Commission treats us as miserable people, for several years we were deprived of increment as stipulated by the Pension Reforms Act 2014. The Commission panel beats and violated the Act and as we stated before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, we have identified 13 violations, so the high level of impunity worries us. They increase their salaries without having a Board,” he alleged.
Aigbokheleode also frowned at the decision of the Commission on the indiscriminate payment of paltry sum of between N1, 000 and N2, 000 to some of the pensioners as increment determined by computer, as well as refusal to pay annuity to eligible retirees.
On his part, Oba Moses Ayodele Ayelagbe Adewuyi (Dunmade I), Oluju of Iludun-Eji in Kwara State who retired as a Director in 2012 accused the pension commission of frustrating pensioners under the contributory pension scheme.
Oba Adewuyi, who decried the lacuna in the implementation of the new pension scheme, observed that while the old pension scheme provides for payment of life pension to all the retirees, those who were captured under the new pension scheme were subjected to certain numbers of years.
He further argued that the template adopted for the payment of pension by the Commission also discriminated against women as it provides for lower pension allowances than what is due to their male counterparts under the guise than women have longer life expectancy than men.