ARFESPON urges FG to pay 30-month pension arrears

The Association of Retired Senior Public Officers of Nigeria has pleaded with the Federal Government to pay its members all outstanding pension benefits and erase every disparity in the payment of pensions between its members and their serving counterparts.

In a statement on Sunday, the association made up of retired management level officers from salary grade level 14 to permanent secretaries, comptrollers-generals of Customs, Immigration and Prisons and career ambassadors, said currently, government is owing its members 30-month arrears of benefits from the 53.4 per cent salary increase it effected on federal workers in 2010.

It stated that by the stipulations of the law of the federation, this should be effected on the retirement benefits of pensioners.

The President, Lagos State chapter of the association, Mr. Olufemi Odewabi, said government had yet to listen to the yearnings of retired senior public officers to totally effect the 2010 increment in their pension benefits and end the era of disparity in retirement benefits.

He noted that the Federal Government, during the regime of Goodluck Jonathan, effected the 53.4 per cent increase in the salaries of public workers but failed to do the same for pensioners.

While quoting Section 173, Sub-Section three of the Constitution of Nigeria, he said, “Pension shall be reviewed every five years or together with any federal civil service salary reviews, whichever is earlier.”

Odewabi said when his association reacted to the government’s non-compliance with this section of the law regarding the increase it made in the salaries of its workers in 2010, the government set up a committee to review the case.

However, he said contrary to the position of the Constitution on the issue, the committee recommended 33 per cent increase for the pensioners against the 53.4 per cent effected on federal workers’ salaries.

Odewabi lamented that even after the 33 per cent increase recommended by the committee, the government had been paying them in instalment and it still owed his members 30-month arrears of the 33 per cent increase it made in 2010.

On behalf of the ARFESPON members, he appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to clear the arrears.