The Nigeria Union if Contributory Pensioners, NUCP, has called for the scrapping of the current pension scheme and a reversal to the old system.
The NUCP made the demand in a memorandum it sent to the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee Investigating the National Pension Commission, PenCom, alleging delayed and non-payment of pension ti beneficiaries.
The NUCP, which blamed pension laws and the activities of PenCom for the problems pensioners are facing under the current scheme, insisted that the current scheme the Contributory Pension Scheme was created to enrich Pension Fund Administrators.
Narrating their experiences and that of their colleagues, two members of the union, who appeared before the committee on Thursday, said they have been facing financial hardship.
Aigbokhaleode Asimifele, a retired Director in the Federal Ministry of Information, said there were over 10 infractions allegedly committed by PenCom against the Act, including infringement on human rights.
According to him, retirees were not included in the board of PenCom while they were no more beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He said: “We have two issues. The violation of the PenCom Act; we have 10 items of the violation of the fundamental and constitutional rights of retirees and pensioners. The constitution says that every five years or when salary is increased, the pension will be reviewed; PenCom did not deem it fit to do that.
“Our constitutional right says that our pension should be paid as and when due but 99 per cent of contributory pensioners, they allow us to die, while some have not received their lump sum payment.
“You can see the lapses and impunity in PenCom. Where is this money; where is it hanging? This is untold hardship. PenCom, they are very insensitive to us, the contributing pensioners. They use the money accrued for the PFAs to make more money.”
Asimiafele faulted the inclusion of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress in the board of PenCom while the pension contributors were excluded.
“Contributors should manage their affairs; they will be more prudent than those who did not contribute but sit down there and feel like they are ones to dictate whatever amount they want to pay to us,” he stated.
Narating his own experience, Mr Adesina Atinsola-Moronto, who retired as Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Industry, said he and his retired wife were suffering as a result of not being paid.
He said: “It is a pity that a thing like this is happening. What we are trying to do is to work ahead of our children who are coming behind. If it continues like this, it may not be easy for them and it may be dangerous for the nation. Why? Somebody who did not contribute a kobo towards his pension is now receiving double the amount of what the people who contributed are receiving. That is what our grouse is.
“What we are saying now is that the House can assist us to either go back to the old system and cancel this (scheme) or it must be done in the right manner if it must continue. You can’t continue to cheat people like this. It is unfortunate. People are dying. I know of my friends, a lot of them are now gone; some of them could not collect the first lump sum before they died.”