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Pensioners appeal to new BPE leadership

28 November 2012, 15:13

Abuja -  Pensioners of the NICON Insurance on Wednesday in Abuja appealed to the new leadership of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to settle their outstanding terminal benefits.

Mr Awa Mmaju, a representative of the pensioners, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

``We want to remind the new acting head of BPE,  Mr Benjamin Dikki of our plight and the painful fact that many of our members have died as a result of hardship,’’ he said.   

The pensioner said a committee established by the privatisation agency to resolve the outstanding staff benefits met last in September.

He recalled that before the September meeting, negotiations between both parties had stalled for several months because BPE representatives did not convene meetings.

Membership of the committee were drawn from the BPE, EFCC, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Head of Service of the Federation, NICON Insurance and representatives of pensioners.

``Since October, BPE representatives had sent out circular for meetings, for at least three times, and they will not attend.

``We have expressed our displeasure on this trend and other members of the committee are also not happy with the attitude of the agency.’’

Mmaju said the BPE representative  on the committee Mr Ismaila Yusuf had rescheduled meeting’s thrice, where other members gathered and he was absent. 

He congratulated Dikki, who was elevated to the new position on Tuesday following the sack of Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa.

NAN recalls that the committee set up by the BPE to resolve outstanding (former workers) issues on the privatisation of NICON Insurance was officially given two months to complete its assignment, after the March 14 inauguration of the committee.

Eight months later the committee is still struggling to come to terms with the mandate of its terms of reference.

Dikki, the new acting DG, had represented Onagoruwa at the inaugural meeting of the committee.

From the minutes of the meeting, the representative of the DG of BPE admitted that following the payment of terminal benefits of N3.9 billion in 2006 to staff and pensioners of NICON, four pertinent issues remained unresolved till date.

First is the issue of the litigation against NICON Insurance management by 14 pensioners of the company.

Second is the case of more than 600 beneficiaries who wanted to be included in the judgment  obtained by the 14 pensioners, after collecting their payment in 2006.

Others unresolved issues are the case of former concerned NICON Insurance Corporation staff that are complaining of short payment and the status of pension scheme of the corporation as the time of privatisation.

NICON Insurance Plc was privatised in December 2005 through a core investor sale to Assurance Acquisition Limited.

Seventy per cent of the Federal Government equity amounting to 700,000 ordinary shares of the company was divested to the core investor.


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