The Senate has tasked its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to investigate the activities of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) over unpaid pensions.
This followed the adoption of a motion “on the need to address the travails of pensioners, their next of kin and deceased relatives over unpaid pensions, gratuities and other entitlements” by Senator Kelvin Chukwu (LP-Enugu) at Tuesday’s plenary.
Presenting the motion, Mr Chukwu said there were undue delays in paying pensions, gratuities and other entitlements, causing suffering and trauma to retirees.
“Due to bureaucratic bottlenecks and endemic corruption in the payment process, the situation has subjected many pensioners to abject penury.
“With some even dying in queues of protracted and never-ending verification exercises that yield little or no result whatsoever.
“The prevailing issues include the nonpayment of outstanding arrears to scores of pensioners, non-enrolment of thousands of pensioners on the pension payroll, nonpayment of death benefits to deserving next of kin.
“This is made worse by improper keeping of records, unscrupulous officials who demand different documents and call for similar verification exercises time and time again,” he said.
He said the administration of the pension funds had been enmeshed in unprecedented corruption over the years, with some public officers, institutions of government, and even banks all complicit.
The lawmaker said that except pensioners received fair and prompt treatment, the country was unwittingly encouraging the propensity of civil servants to be corrupt.
“This is as a career in civil service is no more attractive, especially as senior citizens are treated shabbily.
“It goes further to speak of our value system as any society that cannot treat its elderly citizens with care, respect, and dignity advertises its disregard for values,” he said.
Mr Chukwu said that because senior citizens were no longer relevant in the labour market, the government must do something drastic to ameliorate the trauma and sufferings of pensioners.