The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) says it will begin its verification of pensioners in the northeast as well as those in the Diaspora.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, who visited the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, said the verification in the northeast will begin on Nov. 28.
She said PTAD came to NAN because she believed in collaboration of sister government agencies, to help government on its development programmes.
Ikeazor said the first phase of the civil service pensioners’ verification would start from the north east region comprising Adamawa, Bauchi, Taraba and Gombe states.
She said that she would personally lead the verification team to Borno and Yobe states.
“The first place to start the verification must be the north east so that we can key into the Federal Government’s efforts at rebuilding the northeast.
“We can’t forget the north, insurgency or no insurgency; we are going in there to verify the pensioners so that we can put them on the pay roll,’’ she said.
Ikeazor also said there were four of such pension departments to be involved namely the Police Pension, the Civil Service, Custom and Immigration as well as the parastatals.
She said Adamawa, with a little over 2,000 pensioners, would take a week to verify.
According to her, “each of the pensioners has to come with the employment record, we need to know their length of service, their grade level before retirement and their pension entitlements’’.
“So we expect them to come with their essential employment records to compute their pension and capture their bio-metrics,’’ she said.
Ikeazor, who visited NAN with the Project Coordinator for the north east, Nneka Obiamalu, explained that the essence of the details of employment records was to retain them in the data base.
“This is so in order for them not to go through this repeatedly, which is the essence of the entire exercise.
“We hope to come away with a little over 6,000 pensioners in our data base so that we can solve their problems,’’ Obiamalu said.
She said at an interview that plans were underway for the directorate to begin diaspora verification for Nigerian pensioners overseas.
“PTAD is thinking towards having diaspora verification for Nigerians outside the country but one pension department cannot do this verification alone.
“So customs, Immigration and prisons pensioners have put forward a memo to PTAD for diaspora verification for their people but my advice is that they should marry it with the police.
“This is because there are also police pensioners who are outside the country and other parastatals like the civil servants that are outside Nigeria.
“So PTAD tends to verify these pensioners in diaspora but it cannot do it in isolation but in collaboration with our missions outside of Nigeria to save cost’’, Ikeazor said.
The PTAD boss said that the directorate would next week Monday start verification for the pensioners in the Northeast and thereafter, it would be that of the South-South
Ikeazor said no pensioner would be on its payroll unless the person was verified and thereafter his name would be on its payroll.
According to her, there are several innovations being carried out now by the organisation to ensure that pensioners pensions receive their pensions on time and as at when due.
She listed establishment of call centres and website for pensioners to reach the directorate as its new innovations
She added that the organisation would soon establish 36 zonal offices for pensioners to make their complaints to PTAD easily as another innovation for PTAD.
Ikeazor urged the Federal Government to release funds on time for the directorate to pay the pensioners their pensions quickly as many of them were suffering.
She also called on the Federal Government to provide funds for the organisation to build its permanent Headquarters at it was still in rented apartment and money to build its data office and website.
Ikeazor explained that with correct data office, information technology and more staff, the organisation would pay pensioners correctly and work effectively.
She said that the new PTAD now treats everybody with dignity and empathy, adding that any pensioner that had an unresolved issue should meet her personally to resolve the problem.
According to her, PTAD is partnering Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Police and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to ensure that there is no fraudulent practice in the scheme (NAN)
The Managing Director of NAN, Mr Bayo Onanuga, thanked the team for the visit, pledging the agency’s support the directorate.
Onanuga spoke of the agency’s magazine which maiden edition was expected to hit the news stand soon.
“We call it Nigeria. We have no other befitting name. We hope to project our government in a positive light because the story about our country is usually negative,’’ he said.
Onanuga also highlighted the agency’s multimedia service products including the NAN TV.