By Muftau Ogunyemi
Pensioners in Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos and Osun states have resolved to sue their governments over non-payment of gratuities since 2008.
On the platform of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) South West Zone, the pensioners said the gratuity have been not been paid since 2008.
Mr Ayo Kumapayi and Olusegun Abatan Zonal Chairman and Spokesman for the zone respectively unveiled their plan at the end of the zonal meeting held on Thursday in Akure.
According to them, the union has discovered that nonpayment of gratuity to pensioners is not only in South West but throughout the federation.
“It has become a tradition of Nigerian governors to the extent that pensioners are not paid from 2008 to 2019.
“It has become a very serious affair and many of our pensioners have been dying prematurely as a result of this non-payment of gratuity.
“So,the South West Zone of NUP has decided to test certain parts of Nigeria constitution in a competent court of law.
“We want to determine whether it is constitutional that state governors should not pay gratuities and pension as at when due.
“Or if it is constitutional for them not to pay us, we want to determine it and if it is unconstitutional, then we will go further to determine the next level to take,” he said.
He said the union supported the local government autonomy, explaining that governors had dabbled into funds of LGAs which made them to short change pensioners and workers in their various states.
“The NUP, therefore, calls for reduction of governors and lawmakers salaries packages and government should stop paying them life pension.
“It is distasteful and wicked that civil servants who work for 35 years and entitled to gratuity and pension but not paid as at when due.
“Section 124 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, states that those at the categories of collecting pension and gratuity, are definitely not lawmakers.
“Because you served for four or eight years and you want to take pension for life, what of those who served for 35years,” they said.
They called for a review of law setting up the Revenue Mobilisations, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to empower it to place all the political office holders including the president, governors, ministers, federal and state lawmakers on the same salary scale with civil servants from Grade Level-18 to Grade Level-25 in the country.
Also speaking, the National Deputy General Secretary of NUP, Chief Joseph Okunade said the national leadership of the pensioners was in full support of the legal action against the state governors.
“We call for inclusion of retirees in the new N30,000 minimum wage to be known as the National Minimum Pension.
“We advise governors who are grumbling over payment of the new wage to shun frivolous spending to enable them meet workers and pensioners’ needs,” okunade said.(NAN)