Retired Federal Civil Service workers under the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS), on Sunday, urged the Federal Government to urgently harmonise their pensions while also making an upward review of the same.
The retirees demanded adjustment in their pension payment to reflect the new N30,000 national minimum wage already being implemented in the Federal Civil Service.
National Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Pensioners, Comrade Sunday Omezi, expressed dismay that government had contrary to provisions of the Constitution, not reviewed their pensions since 2010.
He said it was unfortunate that the retirees were not factored into the consequential adjustment negotiation arising from the new minimum wage.
Omezi in a statement released to the media in Abuja, during the weekend insisted that it was time government harmonised pensions of its workers just as it did in the military in January 2019.
He regretted that some pensioners were still receiving paltry N4,000 monthly pensions, urging the government to increase pension to a minimum of N25,000 against the N4,000 being in place at the moment.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the plight of the pensioners while lamenting government’s relegation of its civil service retirees to second class citizens.
He said the disparity in the payment of pension where a civil servant that retire now were made to receive pensions in line with current wage increment leaving their colleagues who retired before the approved new wage, was unfair, insisting that it be harmonised just like in the military.
He said: “We appeal to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, harmonise our monthly pensions.
“They have harmonised military pensions. Military pensions were harmonised in January 2019. We expected the government to equally harmonise the pensions of civilians. But they don’t want to harmonise ours. That is why we said they have taken us as second class citizens.
“Also, in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government is supposed to be reviewing our monthly pensions every five years.
“The last one they did was in 2010. We were due for another review in 2015 which was not done. We are now in 2020 for another one but in 2019, workers’ salaries were increased and the Constitution says they are supposed to review our monthly pensions every five years or whenever workers’ salaries are increased but nothing is happening.”
“Workers’ salaries have been increased and they have started enjoying their new salaries but where are monthly pensions for pensioners?” he stated.
He blamed the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) for not including pensioners in its struggle, saying the agitation for an increase in workers’ pay by the Congress-led to the approval of N30,000 minimum wage recently passed into law.
Omezi said: “The Federal Government has increased workers’ salaries, giving them 30 per cent minimum wage but we are still in our monthly pensions that was reviewed in 2010.
“Could you believe that some pensioners are receiving just N4,000 every month? And the Federal Government has refused to harmonise our monthly pensions. This is just our plight.”
“The union had earlier in a letter dated 10th December, written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to express its concern over what it called “apparent delay in the review of pensions as it relates to Defined Benefits Scheme.”
A copy of the letter titled: “Apathy and Delay in Review of Pension,” signed by its National Secretary, Elder Christian Azunna, which was received by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on December 17, 2019, the union appealed to government to look into its issue.
“We, the entire pensioners of the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS), feel constrained to call the attention of the government to the apparent delay in the review of pensions, as it relates to this category,” the letter said.