READY to tackle the seemingly endless pains and hardship suffered by pensioners, the Senate yesterday mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the management of pension service in the country.
It also charged President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately facilitate payment of all outstanding pensions and ensure that future payments are promptly effected through relevant agencies.
The developments came as a joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on environment vowed to deal with the alleged abuses of the ecological fund and environmental degradation. The lawmakers also pledged to address the issue of gas flaring within the next four years.
The Senate resolution was made during a debate on a motion moved by Heineken Lokpobiri of Bayelsa West Senatorial District on the plight of pensioners in Nigeria.
In his submission, Lokpobiri noted that pension is a safety valve, which Nigerian workers hope to experience for giving their best while serving the country in their respective employments.
Stressing that pension and gratuity are serious issues that border on the dignity of human person, peace, security and survival of the country, he added that dexterity in the administration of pensions and gratuities would boost the impetus for fighting against corruption in the country.
While recalling the long period retirees take to access their pensions, Lokpobiri described the situation as not only worrisome but unacceptable. “That pensioners take as much as three years after initial retirement to process their papers and are in some cases owed arrears of payment for several years is not only worrisome but unacceptable,” he said.
The Senate President, David Mark, in his contribution, condemned the old pension administration, saying that the most worrisome aspect of the scheme was the inhuman treatment pensioners go through in the process of accessing their pension. Mark added that if voters were not expected to gather in one particular city to register for voting, there was no necessity for pensioners, who are less in number, to be subjected to long-distance journey for the purpose of verification.
According to him, “the contributory pension scheme is working; the one that is not working is the old scheme. There is need for action to be taken so as not to lose more Nigerians in the process of accessing their pension.”
All the Senators, who made contributions in the debate, including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Smart Adeyemi, Chris Ngige, Chris Anyanwu, Ita Enang, and Mathew Nwankwo, spoke in favour of the motion.
Ekweremadu urged his colleagues to support the motion to enable the Senate send it to the relevant committee for necessary urgent action.
For the Senate Leader, Ndoma-Egba, the moral strength of any society is judged, not by how the mighty are revered but how the vulnerable are treated.
“How do we judge the moral strength of any society? It is according to how it treats the vulnerable – children, women, elders and the disable. Society is judged by how it treats the most disadvantaged people and not the mighty. These people are not just vulnerable but gave their best to the country. They offered their lives for the country and today, young people, who have not made as much sacrifice as they did, would expect a 91-year old person to move from his village to Abuja to present a paper that was given him at employment. How come we are unable to keep records?”
Suleiman Adokwe of Nasarawa South, suggested that Senate adopt his state’s style, where civil servants do not receive their monthly salary until pensioners are paid. This system, he noted, would ensure that pension administrators perform their duties efficiently.
Robert Boroffice, representing Ondo North expressed the need to decentralise the verification exercise as a way of reducing the risk of travelling long distance for same exercise.
Ayogu Eze of Enugu North recalled bringing up similar issue in the past. He blamed a situation where the elderly are expected to travel from their various villages to Abuja for verification on apathy on the part of pension administrators. He described their action as wickedness and urged the Senate to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
For Abdulahi Adamu, Nasarawa West, Nigerians do not have the culture of appreciating people.
According to him, pension officers are rather attracted to the fund mapped out for the exercise.
“The attraction for those who administer pension is the sum of money meant for verification. Even when there is no need for the verification, they insist so that they could have access to the money provided for the exercise. If we can put the issue of pensioner in first charge, it will be good for the nation,” he added.
Solomon Ita Enang, Akwa Ibom North East, called for thorough investigation of the entire scheme, including the new scheme to ensure that clients’ savings are not liquidated.
“The danger which the House has not addressed is the establishment of Pension Fund. Steps should be taken to ensure that people are paid their money when they retire. There are looming rumours that will burst very soon,” he said.
For Senator Chris Anyanwu, life is devalued in the country. She said the pensioners are only paying the prize of corruption.
At the joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives committees, Abubakar Saraki, in his opening remarks, said the panel would undertake thorough oversight check on the Ministry of Environment and agencies of government under its purview with a view to ensuring that they deliver on the job of protecting the environment.
Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Uche Ekwunife, who lauded the initiative, assured that both committees would work closely to ensure that the environment is protected.
Femi Otedola Reacts To Lekki Tollgate Shooting
Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has finally reacted to the shooting that took place at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on Tuesday.
Information Nigeria recalls men dressed in military wears opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters, who convened at the area.
Otedola took to his Instagram page on Sunday to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
Sharing a photo of the Nigerian flag, he wrote;
“The horrors that have been unfolding in our country have left me filled with sadness. I deeply commiserate with those who have lost their loved ones and as a father, I share the sentiment of my three daughters who protested in Lagos and London. As a young boy of 16, I participated in the ‘Ali Must Go Protest’ of 1978, so I understand the determination of our youths who rightly want our country to be better. We must all do our part to make Nigeria great! I will continue to do my own quota in providing for those who are most in need of support in our country in these tough times .…F.Ote💲”
See his post below:
“Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet, He Was Stabbed By Thugs” – Brother Claims
Information Nigeria recalls a graphics designer identified as Oke, was killed hours after tweeting “Nigeria will not kill me” on Wednesday.
It was reported that the young man had passed away after he was hit by a stray bullet.
The deceased’s younger brother, Daniel has come out to clear the air regarding the circumstances leading to his death.
Daniel revealed his brother was stabbed on the neck by thugs who infiltrated and ransacked their home.
In his words;
“Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State.
Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning the police station at makinde was attacked by thugs who wanted to destroy the station, I my mom and brother were holed up in our house.
The attack went on for hours before the thugs eventually breached the police and proceeded to set the station on fire, after accomplishing this they set their sights to the barracks and began the assault, they proceeded to destroy every car in the barracks, my mom’s 2 cars where destroyed and set on fire and then they infiltrated our house by breaking the door they then proceeded to ransack the house and carted away with everything we own.
my brother on trying to get them to take everything but spare us was pushed to my mom’s room and stabbed on the neck, the attacker then proceeded to attack me but missed my neck but got my chin instead, after this my mom and I carried my brothers body to the entrance of the station soliciting for help from the thugs still ravaging the barracks, we were finally able to put him in a wheelbarrow and took him to a hospital where he was rejected because “he was already dead” unfazed we moved him to another hospital where he met the same treatment this was where he bled his last drops of blood and died, his body has now been moved to a morgue
we have lost every single thing we own, as our house was completely ransacked and set on fire the only thing left is my brothers phone and at about 8 o’clock this evening the barracks was still on fire but Okechukwu has paid with the ultimate price
I and my mother are homeless with nothing now but we’re safe for now, we thank everyone that has been able to reach out to us, and were able to share consoling words with us in these trying times, God bless you
While we were holed up in the house the three of us said these words together and we say it again ” THREE OF US ARE HERE, THREE OF US ARE TOGETHER, THREE OF US ARE SAFE”
Let it be known that my brother @O_Okee was NOT killed by a police bullet but died a hero protecting my mother and I.
If you see this please retweet, let the world know how Okechukwu died. He was NOT killed by a police bullet but thugs in his home!”
See his post below:
Youths Burn Down Sanwo-Olu’s Mother’s House In Lagos (VIDEO)
Lagos youths have set the family house of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on fire.
This was after the Governor said that no nobody was killed during the shooting by soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Sanwo-Olu had debunked claims that the soldiers opened fire and killed some peaceful protesters.
Recall that men of the Nigerian Army reportedly opened fire on protesters following the declaration of 24 hours curfew by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwolu.
Bullets fired by security operatives hit some persons and at least two persons have been confirmed killed by the police and many injured
Voices in viral footage blamed the shootings on soldiers.
However, the angry youth attacked several important places such as Nigeria Port Authority, TVC News, and the family house of the Governor where his mother resides.
After Governor @jidesanwoolu said the "soldiers shot in the air to disperse the peaceful protesters." And thar their's no fatalities
Lagos youths set Governor's Mother's House on FIRE!! #PRAYFORNIGERIA#EndSARS #Lekkitollgate #LekkiGenocide #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeraNOW pic.twitter.com/QaOvSHwXdk
— Nwachukwu John Owen (@johnowen99) October 21, 2020
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