Pensioners protest against the non-payment of gratuities and criticize the PTAD

One group, Concerned PHCN Pensioners, staged a protest at the Pensions Transitional Arrangements Branch Liaison Office in Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos over their non-payment of tips and arrears while urging the FG to intervene in the case.

The leader of the group, Comrade Engineer Dunmoye Oladimeji, lamented that since most retirees left the service many years ago, there had been some form of deception on the part of PTAD management. regarding the payment of their arrears and gratuities over the years.

The group also alleged that the PTAD gave them false assurances for the payment of their arrears while defrauding retirees of the 42% gratuity and monthly pension unpaid for 22 years, which they claim had since been funded by the federal government since the year 2016.

Dunmoye, on behalf of the group, also alleged that the PTAD had yet to pay the 23.3% balance of the 33% increase in National Wage and Income Commission pension rates, which came in effective in 2014.

The group said there was also a balance of 23.3% still to be paid to NEPA/PHCN retirees.

The group, in a press release, made known its grievances and requested the intervention of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired).

The statement said in part: “We have made several presentations to PTAD management to pay our accumulated arrears of our rights, but they have used tactics of deception and manipulation in their official response to our complaints.

“This led us to engage Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) to write a petition letter to President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2021 to request PTAD to pay NEPA/PHCN retirees (its clients) all accrued entitlement arrears.

The group also made demands to the FG, which included immediate payment of the real pension rate increase of 33% which it said took effect from 2015.

He also demanded immediate payment of pension harmonization for all pre-2003 pensioners implemented after 10 years in 2013, as arrears from 2003 and 2013 have not yet been paid to NEPA/PHCN pensioners.

“We demand immediate payment of the actual increase in pension rates of 33% granted by the former president, the government of Goodluck Jonathan, with effect from July 1, 2010 to December 2015 (disregarding the period of arrears due by the PTAD).”

A pensioner, engineer Oladotun Ayodeji, told our correspondent that it was an unfair practice on the part of the management of PTAD to exchange money for pensioners who were well over 70 or 80 years old.

He said: “We are wronged in the payment of our pension and we ask the government to help us. we are in the 70s and 80s age bracket and people are dying in droves. This money is there for us to be paid.

Another pensioner, Ben Achibogu, accused PTAD of capitalizing on factions among electricity workers to deny their dues.

“PTAD takes advantage of the fact that there are factions among workers to deny us our due.”

PTAD management, in a statement sent to our correspondent on his Whatsapp account, expressed dismay at the protest and assured retirees of the organization’s prompt attention to the issue of their welfare.

He said: “The attention of PTAD management has been drawn to growing unrest from a group of PHCN pensioners known as Concerned PHCN Pensioners.

“They allege that the PTAD colluded with ‘powerful individuals’ to deprive them of the 33% pension increase approved by the federal government in 2010.

“We would like to state unequivocally that the National Commission on Wages, Incomes and Wages, the agency of the Federal Government responsible for a policy statement on emoluments, including pensions, had directed via letter of approval Ref: SWC/S/04/S.542/26 of 26 September 2014, that retired staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are not entitled to the 33% pension increase.

“This is because PHCN retirees already had a special salary structure prior to the pension review for retirees who, while serving, fell under one of the Federal Civil Service Harmonized Salary Structures.

“PTAD will continue to prioritize the welfare of defined benefit pensioners.”

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Elaine R. Knight