Govt policies are killing pensioners and elderly people, not COVID-19 ― NUP

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) declared on Wednesday that what is killing the pensioners and elderly people in Nigeria at present is the actions and inactions of the government and not Corona or any other virus.

Speaking at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Union in Abuja, President of NUP, Dr Abel Afolayan, said the NUP did not lose any member to the much-dreaded coronavirus pandemic, but to the activities of the governments at the state and federal levels.

Reading his address on the theme of the NEC meeting: “The welfare of pensioners in a post-COVID-19 era,” Afolayan regretted that senior citizens and elderly people are being killed by the attitude of the Nigerian government, adding that 50 per cent of pensioners in Nigeria still collect less than N10,000 pension per month.

The NUP president said: “The year 2020 is a very difficult year in the history of the entire world. Apart from being a leap-year, it is indeed a year full of various problems for the whole world. Nigeria is not an exception as she has been bearing her own portion of it, especially the health challenges and other complications of COVID-19 pandemic experience, which is highly unfriendly to the elderly people of sixty years and above.

“However, through the unfailing grace of God, by adhering strictly to all covid-19 preventive guidelines, and by whichever other means, the vast majority of representatives of pensioners in Nigeria; that is, Senior Citizens are all here, kicking and bouncing. Distinguished N EC members, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to report to you that in the face of all these problems, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) did not lose any member to the much-dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

“May I clearly state this today, that it is not Corona or any other virus that is killing pensioners, elderly people and senior citizens generally, it is the government actions and inactions that are sending them to their untimely early graves.”

Afolayan pointed out that after COVID-19 period, the pensioners unanimous called to the Federal and all states governments to ensure that pensioners’ welfare is made number one in whatever they do at all times.

Through all legitimate means, he said the NUP would continue to put pressure on them and cry to high heavens that they should humanly address pensioners’ problems and stop killing them gradually.

On their activities in the last one year, he said; “you will recall that I reported our efforts and visit the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission on the minimum wage and salary increment enjoyed by workers last year. I am glad to inform you that the commission set up a Tripartite Committee with NUP and PTAD as members. The Committee met severally, and I am glad to report to you today that the Committee report has been accepted by the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Commission has already forwarded the report through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to Mr President for his approval.”

Afolayan added: “This procedure may seem cumbersome to most of our members who wanted it done immediately. However, I must emphasize that this is the procedure in salary/pension review. Similarly, we have been assured that immediately Mr President gives his approval, the implementation of the increment shall be effective from April 2019, same as for the workers. Mr President himself has given us that assurance.”

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