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N35,000 WAGE AWARD: Pensioners Threaten Protest

Pensioners

Pensioners who retired from the Federal Civil Service have threatened a nationwide protest following the failure of the Federal Government to pay their wage awards.

The pensioners under the aegis of Federal Civil Service Pensioners, an affiliate of the National Union of Pensioners, expressed dismay at the failure of the Tinubu-led administration to pay the wage awards despite the untold hardship currently being faced by Nigerians.

While addressing selected members of the press in Abuja on Wednesday, the President of the Federal Civil Service Pensioners, Sunday Omezi, said pensioners were going through excruciating pains and agony.

“We feel constrained to bring to the knowledge of the world through this medium, the excruciating pains and agony we have been subjected over the years by the same government we served vigorously and diligently with our youthful energy without blemish only to be abused, dehumanised, marginalised and neglected with reckless abandon, after sapping our energy and leaving us dejected and consigned to rot and death,” he said.

Speaking on the unpaid wage award, Omezi said, “It is pathetic and disappointing to bring to the fore, the non-payment of the N25,000 wage award promised pensioners by the government.

“It is rather distasteful that up till date, no single payment has been made to pensioners. We are hereby demanding immediate payment of the award, because it is so embarrassing for such a promise to be left unfulfilled.”

Omezi also noted that pensioners have been crying profusely the tears of pain over the years through several official representations to the government.

“Our telling has been deliberately ignored, hence we are left with no option, but to cry out louder to the world to be informed of the pathetic condition we have been made to suffer by the same system that is expected to protest us.”

When asked whether the union would protest, Omezi said, “We are hoping it won’t get to that. That is the major reason we have this press briefing. However, if nothing is done, we may have to embark on a protest.’’

But the Niger State Governor Mohammed Bago has promised to start paying the State’s workers wage award beginning from March 2024.

The governor’s promise was the outcome of a round table negotiation with the leadership of the State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, in Minna.

Chairman of the Niger State NLC, Idrees Lafene, spoke in a telephone chat on Wednesday in which he said President Bola Tinubu’s comment on wage award during his visit to the State was important to the State’s Labour Union.

He expressed confidence that the Niger State Governor would fulfill his promise to start paying the wage award from March 2024.

“I like what the president said, especially when he said governor’s should give wage award. That is the only thing hat remains for our Governor. If he is able to give wage award, he’ll be one of the best governors,” Lafene said.

Asked if the governor has started paying wage award, the NLC chairman said, “ Our agreement with the governor is this March, he said end of March, that is when he will start paying the wage award. He said he will pay N20,000”.

Additional reports by Chima Azubuike, Animasahun Salman, Daniels Igoni, Abiodun Nejo, Bola Bamigbola, John Charles, Bankole Taiwo and Chika Otuchikere