Ibadan - Mr Ali Abatcha, the National President of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), says that Federal Government owes pensioners across the country unpaid entitlements totalling over N500 billion.
He said this in Ibadan on Tuesday during the celebration of Pensioners Day and the foundation laying ceremony of Oyo State Pensioners House.
Abatcha, who was represented by Mr Wale Jolaoye, noted that the joy of pensioners had been truncated by series of disappointments, frustrations and deprivation.
He stressed that various categories of pension arrears remained unpaid, while thousands of pensioners were not receiving any benefits from the government.
He noted that the pension and gratuity of retired workers were at times not paid in full, while there were some disparities in the harmonised pension scheme.
"Besides, names of pensioners are sometimes removed from the payroll by pension officials," he added.
Abatcha rejected claims by Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, the Chairman, the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), that over N181 billion pension funds had been saved.
He called for the immediate implementation of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Pension Administration, which indicted the PRTT officials for fraud and called for their prosecution.
Abatcha challenged the PRTT to make public the report of its 2010/2011 biometric exercise and solicited the immediate resumption of the inconclusive biometric verification of 2010/2011.
He also asked for the release of the withheld union's check-off dues.
In his address, Oyo State Chairman of NUP, Alhaji Lateef Adegoke, appealed the state government to urgently effect the payment of 142 per cent pension arrears for workers who retired from the state’s parastatal agencies and tertiary institutions.
He solicited assistance from the people for the construction of Oyo State Pensioners House, saying that the edifice would cost over N250 million.
In his speech, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State pledged the government’s support for the project.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Adeyemo, donated N1 million for the project.