Edo government, pensioners differ on pension funding

Some of the protesting pensioners in Benin

Some of the protesting pensioners in Benin

RETIREES of local councils in Edo State and that of primary schools recently protested the non-funding of their pensions and called on the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to pay the sum of N2.5billion tax arrears/ contributing fund to the state Local Government Pension Board, as they lamented that they have been subjected to untold hardship due to months of unpaid pension.

The protesting pensioners, who were at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press centre in Benin City, also carpeted the position of the state government through the governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Prince Kassim Afegbua, that the state government was not responsible for funding the pensions of local council retirees and primary school teachers.

They said the position of the government contradicts the law that established the state local government staff pension board in each of the 36 states of the federation as contained in Decree No. 20 of 1985.

A statement signed by the President and Secretary of the Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPENAS) J.U Obakpolo and T.E. Uwagboe, said the “Provision of the section 210 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which specifically mandate state governments to take charge of pension in the state while section 173 of the same constitution relates to federal government.

“The law that established the pension board, provided that the federal, state and local government should jointly fund the local government staff pension board.”

“We want to inform the public that Edo State government owes the state Local Government Pension Board about N4billion since 2003, which ought it ought to contribute to funding that board. It is not less than N2.5billion that our governor has refused to contribute since his seven years of governorship. We want him to start by paying tax arrears of the fund to the board.”

“That on March 1, 2011, the second arm of Adams Oshiomhole’s government, the Edo State House of Assembly, passed three resolutions mandating the executive arm of his government to meet and collect from the Federal Government its share of the fund as provided by the law that the government should pay the arrears of its share of the fund from when it came to office and urgently harmonized the older pensioners so as to meet the realities of the present day economic situation.”

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