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……Unpaid Gratuities/Pension: South West Pensioners Drag State Governors to Court.
…say Buhari, Senators, Reps, Governors, should collect same Salaries with Civil servants.
By: Ade Adeleke
Hundreds of retirees in the south west geopolitical zone under the auspices of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) today threatened to institute legal action against the 36 state governors over their failure to pay accumulated arrears of gratuities and pension in the country.
The Pensioners vowed that they going to court in the next two months to text the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) if it is lawful or not to owe them their entitlements, with sole objective of the court to compel the state governors to pay gratuities and pension as and when due.
The South west Zonal Chairman of NUP, Chief Ayo Kumapayi and the Spokesman of the Union, Olusegun Abatan handed down the threat while speaking with journalists at the end of their zonal meeting held in Akure, the Ondo state capital Thursday.
Briefing newsmen, the NUP Spokesperson said the legal action became imperative in view of the rising cases of sick and dead pensioners unceremoniously as a result of unpaid entitlements by the state governments of Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun and Ondo as well as other parts of the country.
Kumapayi who flanked by the Ondo state Chairman of NUP, Chief Raphael Adetuwo and other chairmen and Secretaries of the Union from the six states, blamed failure of the state governors to pay their gratuities and pension regularly on reckless spending on humongous salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Humongous salaries and allowances of public office holders especially senators and House Representatives members who take home #13million and #14million monthly need to be reviewed, how can those people will be collecting such huge money in a country where 80% are battling to meet daily meal”, Kumapayi said.
NUP Zonal leaders also demanded the review of law setting up the Revenue Mobilisations, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to empower it to place all the political office holders including the President, governors, ministers, Federal and state lawmakers on the same salary scale with civil servants from Grade Level-18 to Grade Level-25 in the country.
The step, the pensioners said, would save the country’s economy from collapsing and enable government to have more money to take care of the needs of the less privileged Nigerians who wallowing in abject poverty and deprivation.
“President Buhari should use his second term in office to do something about such take home by our federal lawmakers, they should be placed on same salary scale with the civil servants to reduce pressure on the nation’s economy. Those who want to genuinely serve will take, political offices have been turn to money making and no longer for service for humanity”, Kumapayi said.
“Let the President be on GL 25, Vice President will be on GL 24, governors on GL 23 downward like that, this will save our nation from reckless and killing salaries and allowances”.
The South west NUP commended President Muhammadu Buhari for huge step taken recently to grant local government financial autonomy, saying the decision would prevent many state governors from spending local governments’ funds nationwide as a pocket money.
Also speaking, the National Deputy General Secretary of NUP, Chief Joseph Okunade said the national leadership of the Pensioners was in full support of the legal action against the state governors.
Okunade said, “we at the nation like our south west zone call for the inclusion of retirees in the new #30,000 minimum wage to be known as the National Minimum Pension. We advise governors who grumbling over the payment of the new wage to shun frivolous spending to enable them meet workers and pensioners’ needs”.