Egypt - Pensioners under the auspices of Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPPAN) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sponsor an executive bill to the National Assembly to make payment of pensions a first line charge in the annual budgets of the country.

The appeal, the pensioners said, was because of their apprehensions that “the monumental sanity being witnessed and the unprecedented fraud-free pension regime of his administration may suffer a setback if the next president unfortunately treats pension payment as a lesser priority.”

FEPPPAN further urged President Buhari to immortalise himself in the hearts and life of Nigerian pensioners and their families by constitutionalising pension payment as a first line charge before he exits office.

The Pensioners’ union added that the fate and lives of pensioners after President Buhari’s administration is hanging on a thread and that their only saving grace is constitutionalisation of payment of pensions as a first line charge through the National Assembly, by Mr President.

This appeal was contained in the association’s communiqué issued after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, which was jointly signed by its President-General, Chief (Dr) Tempe Ubani; General Secretary, Mr Franklin Enrile and National P.R.O, Mr Jonathan Iyoo.

“FEPPPAN NEC-in-session noted with grave concerns PTAD’S protracted delays to obey and failure to implement the provisions of the Trade Unions Act regarding the automatic deduction, at source, of check-off dues from our members and remit to FEPPPAN as a registered and recognised trade union.”

“The NEC-in-session noted that in spite of the fact that the Minister of Labour and Employment had repeatedly advised PTAD, the Directorate is yet to act accordingly,” the association said.

On the challenges of its private sector members, the communiqué said, “NEC-in-session painfully noted that our members of the private sector organisations and some of the non-treasury government agencies are yet to benefit from the Consequential Adjustments already enjoyed by their treasury-funded counterparts.

“NEC therefore called on the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to urgently intervene and arrange meetings of these organisations, their pensioners and FEPPPAN leadership to amicably resolve the issues without further delays.

“This call serves as notice to parties that FEPPPAN shall not hesitate to mobilise its members nationwide for mass actions against these and other defaulting agencies forthwith.”

On the prolonged issue of pension harmonisation, FEPPPAN call on the committee handling the issue of pension harmonisation to expedite action and conclude on the assigned duty before the expiration of President Buhari’s administration.

The communiqué also gave the leadership of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) pensioners’ union till end of December to fully migrate its members to FEPPPAN, warning that it would not hesitate to accept the application of the majority of FAAN pensioners who have declared their allegiance to FEPPPAN.

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Christian Appolos | Abuja