Federal public servants who retired since January 2016 on Thursday staged a protest at the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja over their unpaid pensions to the tune of N200 billion.
The retirees under the auspices of the League of Federal Service Contributory Pension Retirees, led by the Coordinator, Mr Chike Ogbechie said that workers who retired 15 months ago were yet to receive their pension.
He said the association had made a submission to the National Assembly on the 2017 budget to look into their plight.
‘’The next time we come here, we are going to occupy this premises; we are going to bring our mattresses; we are going to stay here.
“When PENCOM submits the budget for accrued pension, they slash it arbitrarily.
“Against 2016, the figure was N91 billion based on actual people captured. It is not just an estimate; it is based on people captured, in that office they slashed it to N51 billion.
“This year again, N113 billion was submitted including deceased public servants, they slashed it again to N50.1 billion.
“In other words, this backlog is going to remain.’’
Ogbechie said the way retirees were currently being treated was counter-productive to government’s drive against corruption.
He called on the Federal Government to prioritise the payment of accrued pensions to enable retirees’ access the funds immediately they retire.
A retiree of the Office of the Head of Service, Mr Okikiolou Kayode, said that he has yet to access his pension funds 13 months after retirement.
“It has been very difficult even to eat. I had to borrow money to come here this morning. The most painful thing is my house rent.
“My landlord and I, even though we were friends before, are enemies now because I do not pay the actual money I am supposed to pay.
“So it is not easy, it has been an awful experience for me.’’
Another retiree, Mrs Joyce Okorafor, who explained that she was a widow and mother of five, said that she had to sell her assets to pay her children’s school fees and put food on their table.
“I am worried that I have exhausted my savings and have resulted to selling my properties to make ends meet. I am at the end of my resources, please Mr President, come to our aid,’’ Okorafor said.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Finance said that government was working assiduously to address the challenges faced by the retirees.
Mrs Lanre Shuaibu, Director, Technical Services in the ministry, told the protesting retirees that; “we will get back to you soon’’.