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NLC asks governors to steer clear of pension funds

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday threatened to mobilise Nigerian workers against plan by the state governors to borrow N17 trillion from the pension funds for infrastructural development.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this at the 47th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria in Abuja, insisted that the governors have no authority over the funds.

The union asked the governors to steer clear of the pension funds and warned them against tampering with the money.

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had last week endorsed the proposal of the Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad hoc Committee, Nasir El-Rufai, to borrow N17trillion from the pension funds for infrastructural development.

Ayuba said: “The pension is not for borrowing, pension money is the retirement savings of workers, it cannot be borrowed. It’s like money in your savings account that nobody can borrow.

“You must go through the bank and in this case, you must go through the PFAs and their guidelines; even the guidelines they want to play down but to the glory of God, the board of Pencom commission has been constituted.

READ ALSO: Pension funds under threat, says NLC

“I stand here to represent the workers. We are not going to agree; less than five percent of the states are keying into the contributory pension, yet they want to borrow the money. The bulk of the money is from the federal government workers and private-sector workers; so how do you want to borrow from where you have not sown?”

The NLC chief noted that over 18 state governors were delaying the implementation of the new national minimum wage, saying it was unheard of that the same governments would want to borrow the workers’ pension.

“It’s not free money, and let me sound a bit of warning: any day that we hear the pension fund, our money has been borrowed, I will declare a protest and everybody is going to be on the street to protect our hard-earned money.

“The money belongs to workers, we contribute that money so that when we retire, we can have something for retirement, so they have no say whatsoever; both the principal and the capital belong to us,” he added.

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