A twenty-one-day ultimatum has been given to the Taraba State government by members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) to address issues concerning the payment of pensions and gratuities across the state.
The chairman of the Union, Kefas Katan who said this during an interactive session with media practitioners in Jalingo, said the Union would be left with the option of taking over the streets of Jalingo, the state capital if positive measures are not put in place to address their plights at the end of the 21 days.
He warned that retirees from both the state and the entire sixteen local government councils will converge in the state capital for a massive protest against the state government to press home their demands.
“Pensioners in the state deemed it necessary to break its silence to address the teething and lingering problems affecting its members which the government has failed to attend to .”
Wondering why pensioners have been relegated to the background, he said “It is indeed a known fact that many retirees in Taraba State from the services of the sixteen councils are facing untold hardships due to their none-enrollment for pension many years after retirement and completion of all procedures for enrolment for pension.”
At the moment, over eight hundred (800) retirees from the local governments who retired from service ten years ago are yet to start enjoying their pension, he said.
Sad that the negative attitudes of the government to retirees have continued to herald untold hardship on them, the pensioners now find it difficult to fend for their families, pay their children’s schools and foot hospital bills among others, le lamented.
He said more devastating is the fact that some of the pensioners are now bedridden “to the extent that they are not able to access health facilities because they lacked the funds to do that. ”
Stressing that the government has not been able to keep to its promises, he said “late last year, the state local government pension board claimed that these retirees have been captured in the 2021 budget promising that they will start enjoying their pension in January this year but we are now in June and the affected retirees are still facing the same predicament.”
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Even local government pensioners, who according to him were lucky to be enjoying their pension in the state, still have an outstanding unpaid one month pension for June 2015, adding that all efforts by the union in the state to get them the one month outstanding failed.
”When the present administration came on board in 2015, the government started the payment of gratuity in 2016 in batches but sooner than later the payment became epileptic and finally stopped. He lamented.
While some state governments in the northeast region are “busy spreading smiles on the faces of their pensioners”, he said felt sad that the reverse has been the case in Taraba.
Efforts by the leadership of the Union to have an audience with the state governor, he said, always met stumbling blocks, as he alleged that their plans are being frustrated by some top government functionaries.
He called on the media to help use its platforms to draw the attention of the governor to come to their aides as “our situations have been moving from bad to worse”
”Pensioners, according to him “least expected the inhuman treatments from the government we solidly stood behind during elections”.