Minimum wage: Pensioners demand living pension

Concerned over current economy challenges in Nigeria, the Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPPAN), has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to show compassion to the pensioners by instructing the committee negotiating the new minimum wage, to recommend a living pension for retirees.

According to the senior citizens, “Paying a living wage to retirees would discourage workers from indulging in corrupt practices trying to amass much wealth at the detriment of the progress and development of the nation.

FEPPPAN further told President Tinubu that the living condition of pensioners in Nigeria is horrible. It added that Nigerian workers of today are scared of retiring and be in the same shoes as pensioners, a reason why many of them go all out to perpetuate and aid corruption just to have enough for the rainy days. The union equivocally said that pensioners more than any other group of people in the country deserve a sustainable pay.

According to a communique at the end of her National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in its headquarters in Abuja, jointly signed by its Acting President-General and General Secretary, Alhaji Babaji Magaji and Franklin O. Erinle, respectively, the group insisted that it’s high time government across levels in Nigeria began to prioritize the welfare of the citizens.

“The citizens are the most important thing in everything about the existence of a nation. Therefore, it is only natural that improving the living conditions of the people you govern should be at the top of to-do list of government.” FEPPPAN, said.

The communique further states that “we are calling on the President to renew the hope of workers in trusting that they won’t be worst off when they retire by giving Nigerian pensioners of today a living pension. Everyone working today will retire someday and for that reason, we equally call on the National Assembly and every worker in Nigeria to help us beg the president to give us a living pension.”

The pensioners however urged the President to kickstart his act of compassion on Nigerian pensioners by paying the N25,000 palliative he promised to them last year as a result of hardship caused by the fuel subsidy removal.

“We entered another level of suffering since the fuel subsidy was removed and prices of goods and services skyrocketed. Then came the promise for palliative by President Tinubu, and our hope and spirit were lifted. It’s been months and we are still expecting. We don’t want to believe that the words of Mr. President will go unfulfilled. Therefore, we are pleading with him to fulfill his promise by paying us the N25,000 palliative while we wait for the pronouncement and approval of a living pension.

“Like many of us, Mr. President is an aged man and we expect him to understand our situation better than any other person. So we urge him to hear our call and take immediate action to support us. At this juncture, we reiterate that welfare of Nigerians especially pensioners should be prioritized. Government must give Nigerian workers of today a good reason to have hope and to faithfully serve our fatherland.

Also, the communique said; “We pray Mr. President to please think things through before taking any action that is likely to ruin the lives of pensioners and a system that is perfectly discharging its duties. We are talking about the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). What we suffered in the hands of some people before the advent of PTAD is what we don’t want to think about let alone going through it again. If anything at all must be done, please Mr. President rather make PTAD more efficient and effective than scraping it. This is part of the act of compassion we are asking of you. The living pension and palliative we are asking for will easily get to us through PTAD than any other system that may start afresh. Let PTAD continue to work for pensioners. We urge you.”