Concerned PHCN Pensioners staged a demonstration at the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate’s (PTAD) liaison office in Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, over the non-payment of their gratuities and arrears, requesting the Federal Government to act.
Comrade Engineer Dunmoye Oladimeji, the group’s chairman, lamented that since most retirees left service many years ago, the PTAD administration had engaged in various forms of fraud concerning the payment of their arrears and gratuities.
The group also claimed that the PTAD had given them false assurances about paying their arrears while short-changing retirees for 22 years on the 42 percent unpaid payment of gratuity and monthly pension, which it claimed had been funded by the Federal Government since 2016.
Dunmoye also claimed on behalf of the group that the PTAD had yet to pay the remaining 23.3 percent of the 33 percent pension rate increase enacted by the National Salaries and Incomes and Wages Commission in 2014.
According to the association, there is still a 23.3 percent deficit owed to NEPA/PHCN retirees.
In a press statement, the group made its grievances known and solicited the intervention of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
The statement read in part, “We have made several presentations to the PTAD management to pay the cumulative arrears of our entitlements, but they have employed tactics of deceptions and manipulations in their official response to our complaints.
“This led us to engage Mr Femi Falana (SAN) to write a petition letter to President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2021 to instruct PTAD to pay NEPA/PHCN pensioners (His Clients) all accrued cumulative arrears of entitlements.
The group also made demands to the FG, which included the immediate payment of the actual 33 per cent pension rate increase, which it said took effect from 2015.
It also demanded the immediate payment of pension harmonisation for all pre-2003 retirees implemented after ten years in 2013, with arrears from 2003 and 2013 yet to be paid to NEPA/PHCN pensioners.
“We demand immediate payment of the actual 33 per cent Pension Rates Increase awarded by former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s government with effect from July 1st, 2010 to December 2015(being skipped period of arrears due from PTAD.).”
A retiree, Engineer Oladotun Ayodeji, said that it was an unfair practice by the management of PTAD to short-change retirees who were well into their 70s and 80s.
He said, “We are being short-changed in the payment of our pension and we are asking the government to come to our aid. we are within the age bracket of 70 and 80 and people are dying in multitude. That money is there for us to be paid.”
Another retiree, Ben Achibogu, accused PTAD of capitalising on the factions among electricity workers to deny their dues.
“PTAD is capitalizing on the fact that there are factions among workers to deny us our due.”
The management of PTAD, in a press release sent to our correspondent on his Whatsapp account, expressed dismay at the protest and assured the retirees of the organisation’s prompt attention to the issue of their welfare.
It stated, “The attention of PTAD Management has been drawn to a growing agitation by some group of PHCN Pensioners known as concerned PHCN Pensioners.
“They are alleging PTAD has colluded with some ‘powerful individuals’ to deprive them of the 33% pension increment approved by the Federal Government in 2010.
“We would like to state unequivocally, the National Salaries, Incomes & Wages Commission, the Federal Government agency responsible for a policy statement on emoluments including pensions, had directed via a letter of approval Ref: SWC/S/04/S.542/26 of 26th September 2014, that the retired staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are not entitled to the pension increase of 33%.
“This is because PHCN pensioners were already on a special salary structure before the pension review for pensioners who, while in service, were on one of the Harmonized Salary Structures of the Federal Public Service.”