Efforts Of Gov Sule In Tackling Pensioners Nightmare In Nasarawa

By Salau Yusuf. Normally, the payment of pension, gratuity and salary to civil servants and other government workers ought not to be a predicament because these are statutory duties of government at both state and federal levels.Unfortunately, the failure of government to pay retirees’ their entitlements has made pension payment a very cumbersome issue in most states of the federation. A worker who has served the state and attained retirement should be entitled to the payment of his or her pension and gratuities because he has invested his time, energy and productive part of his life in public service.Unfortunately, the pension and gratuities of the retirees crumbles in most cases, as they are left in a desperate situation. Many die in the process without getting the pension or without enjoying the fruit of their labour as enshrined in the constitution.However, in Nasarawa State, despite the economic quagmire bedeviling the state, Governor Abdullahi Sul-led administration has eradicated the unbridled systemic corruption through prompt payment of pension and gratuities of the senior citizens.The governor on assumption of office in 2019, inherited backlog of pension and gratuities, including death benefits of state, local governments and local education authorities retirees, amounting to millions of nairas but is frantically taming the conundrum. Miffed by the predicaments of the retired public servants, the governor immediately ordered the payment of their entitlements and death benefits to the families of the slain senior citizens to assuage their financial challenges and humanitarian needs.The state government under the leadership of Governor Sule, has since commenced the payment of N500 million gratuity to the first batch of 500 local government and state retirees who were hitherto neglected by the previous administrations in the state.These giant strides of Governor Sule in tackling pension and gratuities problem amongst pensioners, has gotten legislative support as the State House of Assembly vowed to give parliamentary assistance to the State Pension Bureau for efficiency and effective service delivery.The first-ever collaboration plan was unveiled by the Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali, during the committee’s assessment of the 2020 budget performance of the pension bureau.Alkali, who is a member representing Lafia North constituency, explained that the 6th Assembly will continue to work assiduously with the Director-General of the state pension bureau to ensure that the welfare of pensioners and families of the slain senior citizens is pioritise by government for ultimate productivity.Consequently, he directed the management of the bureau to submit all the necessary information and documents regarding the general pension statistics and pensioners in the state to the committee for scrutiny and actionable plans for the betterment of the retired public servants in the state.While lamenting over what he termed stagnation in wages of the retirees and the spate of unverified pensioners across the state, the lawmaker called for immediate biometric data capturing of all the retirees in the state for accountability and transparency in payment of their entitlements.Responding, the Director-General of the state Pension Bureau, Mr. Sani Abdullahi Oseze, applauded the Committee members for working tirelessly with the board in addressing pension challenges in the state.According to him, from 2011 to date, the board recorded 1,993 workers that died and their next of kin are waiting for their gratuities, while the bureau is currently bankrolling 5,849 pensioners as capsulated in its payroll.He maintained that Governor Sule has been prioting retirees’ welfare in the state, urging the retirees to support and cooperate with the present administration in the state.In his remarks, the State Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman, expressed appreciation to the governor for keeping to his promise and called for the sustainability of the tempo.Therefore, with this tremendous achievements recorded by Sule’s administration in addressing pension and gratuity nightmare, the senior citizens who are beneficiaries of this life changing initiatives are expected to profer solutions for speedy development and economic recovery of the state.Salau Yusuf is an Information Officer With The Nasarawa state Pension Bureau, Lafia.

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