From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, South West Zone, has said that the inability of state governors in the region to pay their pensions, gratuity and poor access to a health insurance policy, have been responsible for why their members have been dying in large numbers.
They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors to initiate a policy that will give pensioners unhindered access to robust medicare for longevity after meritorious services to the nation.
The body spoke in Ado Ekiti on Thursday during the annual South West Zonal Council meeting held in Ekiti State.
The zonal meeting comes up in September of every year.
The pensioners, who spoke through its South West Publicity Secretary, Mr Segun Abatan, lamented that “Throughout the nation, pensioners are dying in droves because no policy to enhance their medicare after retirement.
“The governors should emulate the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who placed all retirees on Health insurance and this has reduced the level of deaths. The governors must put in place robust health insurance for pensioners”.
He specifically lambasted the South West governors for allegedly failing to initiate timely implementation of the increment in a pension that can match the economic realities of the nation.
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“I regret to tell you that the governors have taken the issue of pension and gratuities off their tables for consideration. Apart from Ondo and Lagos, other states have not paid the 33.4% pension increase, likewise the Minimum Wage consequential adjustment for workers .
“So our pensioners must study the political firmament very well so that they won’t vote for those that will make lives more miserable, but those that will make their lives better.
“The South West governors are also defaulting in the payment of check-off dues to the union. If you are paying pension regularly and you are not paying check off dues, you can’t be boasting that you have paid in full.”
On the rising insecurity in the country, Abatan described as unfortunate, the killing of innocent Nigerians by terrorists and bandits across the geopolitical zones of the nation.
“Lives of some people in the last seven years had been shortened in a brutish manner due to insecurity. We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to up the anthem and make pensioners and other Nigerians safe by putting in place measures to check criminals.
“It was sad that when we were coming into Ekiti, Christians amongst us were reading Psalms and the Muslims were reciting for our safety.”
Abatan appealed to the FG and lecturers to go back to the drawing board and settle the lingering crisis caused by the strike pronounced by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), saying the industrial action had increased criminalities in the system.