COVID-19: Kwara pensioners want inclusion in palliatives

Pensioners in Kwara state have appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to include them among beneficiaries of palliatives being distributed by the state government to cushion the effect of the stay at home order on the poor over coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson of the senior citizens in the state, Mr Kayode Oyeyipo, on Wednesday, said that retirees had been going through difficult times, adding that the situation had been compounded by the lockdown order.

It is recalled that the state government has commenced distribution of palliatives to poorest of the poor in the 16 local government areas of the state a few days ago with such food items as rice, semovita, vegetable oil, among others.

While appealing to workers in active service to help push their course, Oyeyipo prayed for God’s success of the present administration in the state.

Meanwhile, the pensioners have appealed to members of the National Assembly to give legal backing to national minimum pension bill.

In a communique issued at the end of the zonal meeting of the group by the secretary of the NUP in the North Central zone, Comrade Abraham Gana, the pensioners said that when passed into law, the bill would serve as a great relief to all categories of pensioners in the country.

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Comrade Gana, who also commended the national president of the union, Dr Abel Afolayan, for taking the national leadership of the union to the National Assembly to lobby the lawmakers, said that the law would improve the living condition of pensioners when passed.

The communiqué, however, condemned the non-challant attitude of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which it said agitated and struggled for new minimum wage for workers across board in 2019 and excluded the case of pensioners in the exercise, adding that presently, many pensioners earn the sum of N5,000.00 or even less as pension every month.

The communiqué noted with great concern that when workers’ salaries were reviewed in 2010 and 2015 respectively, pensioners were not taken care of in the two exercises and the same thing also happened when the bill for the new minimum wage law was enacted in 2019.

The communiqué, however, expressed joy that the ninth Senate has vowed to do everything within its powers to ensure that pensioners’ plight are adequately addressed and the ugly situation redressed while the Senate committee on Establishment and Public Service has also put pleas in place to commence a joint meeting of all government officials connected with irregularities in the payment of pensioners’ benefits with a view to regularizing everything.

It expressed the hope that the present efforts and struggle of Dr Afolayan and his team, this ugly situation will be removed when the National Assembly enacts a Minimum Pension Law in the same manner the National Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was approved and enacted as law by the National Assembly.

The communiqué then appealed to Dr Afolayan and his team to ensure that his present struggle for pensioners’ welfare see the light of the day as it assured the NUP leadership of the Zone’s unflinching support, loyalty, cooperation and prayer.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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