Breaking News Politics

Veiw:List Of 21 Nigerians States Who Owe Inherited Pensions, Gratuities

Veiw:List Of 21 Nigerians States Who Owe Inherited Pensions, Gratuities.…..CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

…Rivers, Benue states top list with N119bn, N100bn
…South-West , Niger Delta regions have N256 bn, N225 bn
…What we’re doing to offset arrears — STATES

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Dayo Johnson, Victor AhiumaYoung, Sam Oyadongha, Demola Akinyemi, Olasunkami Akoni, Vincent Ujumadu, Egufe Yafugborhi, Peter Duru, Dennis Agbo, Steve Oko, Peter Okutu Marie-Therese Nanlong, Emmanuel Una, Ike Uchechukwu, Chioma Onuegbu, Ochuko Akuopha, Ndahi Marama, Charly Agwam, Ogalah Ibrahim, Dan Abia, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Shina Abubakar, James Ogunnaike, Deola Badru & Emmanuel Iheaka

At least 21 states of the federation owe retirees N790billion inherited pensions and gratuities.

Vanguard checks revealed that while Rivers State tops the list of states with a backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuities to the tune of N119 billion, Benue State comes second with N100 billion.

Similarly, the South-West zone ranks first with a whopping N256 billion, while the Niger Delta is closely following it with N225 billion.

It was also learned that the pensions and gratuities were accumulated by successive governments in the states. Incumbent governments now grapple with liquidating their debts.

According to Vanguard investigations, only Kaduna and Kebbi states are up to date in the payment of pensions and gratuities to their retirees.

About 13 states at the time of this report, could not put a figure to the amount they owed their retirees in pensions and gratuities.
Ondo — N56bn

In Ondo, Vanguard checks revealed that the state government owed over N56 billion in pension and gratuities.
Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, in the state, Johnson Osunyemi, said the unpaid benefits included that of local and state governments.

While local government pensioners have arrears from 2011 till date, arrears of state pensioners run from 2014 till date.
Ekiti —N40bn

Similarly, Ekiti State government owes pensioners about N40 billion in outstanding gratuities and five months of pension arrears.

Chairman of the state’s NUP, Mr. Joel Akinola, said the gratuity arrears are from 2014 till date.
Ogun — N64bn

Also, in Ogun State, the government owes N64 billion.

It was gathered that Governor Dapo Abiodun inherited N68 billion of gratuities for both state and local government retirees but had paid N4 billion, leaving a balance of N64 billion.

The Secretary, Nigeria Pensioners Association, Ogun State chapter, Bola Lawal, however, said the present government has paid pension up to date.
Osun — N50bn

In the same vein, the Chairman, Osun State Contributory Pensioners, Gbenga Oyadare, said the state owed members N50 billion in pension as at 2022.
Oyo — N36bn

In Oyo State, NUP’s Secretary, Segun Abatan said: “Government was owing retirees N43 billion as at 2008.’’
It was learned that Governor Seyi Makinde had paid N10 billion of the amount, in compliance with a court directive.

“N3 billion was the amount of gratuity owed retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners. He has paid from 2008 to 2014. He still has nine years to pay,” Abatan said.
Lagos — N10bn

In Lagos State, checks revealed that no fewer than 10,000 retired civil servants are yet to receive their pension rights worth over N10 billion.

However, the state government has disbursed N52 billion to pensioners in the state civil service from 2019 till date.

Recall that Mr. Babalola Obilana, Director-General, Lagos Pension Commission, LASPEC, had during the 95th Retirement Benefit Bond Certificates Presentation for Retirees in Lagos, said the commission also had about N10 billion to pay as outstanding accumulated debts for pensioners in the state.

Sources informed that there are an estimated 13,928 pensioners in the state, saying “this number covers those in the mainstream, local government, State Universal Basic Education Board, teaching service commission and other state parastatals.

“Government plans to clear the backlog of pension from 2022 till date so as to achieve the goal of ‘pay as you go’.

“Under the Defined Benefit Pension, there is a backlog from the middle of 2022 till date. Given the consistency of the payment, it is projected that by December, the backlog will be cleared.”
Rivers — N119 bn

The Rivers State Government is credited to owe pensioners in the country the highest unpaid benefit of over N119 billion, spanning between 2003 and 2023.

Officials were unwilling to speak on the debt but the chairman of the state NUP, Collins Iheanyi-Nwankwo, corroborated the report
C’River —N24 bn

Findings indicate that Cross River State owes pensioners N24 billion in gratuities.

Former Governor Liyel Imoke paid until 2012, and his successor, Senator Ben Ayade, also paid until 2014.

The current governor, Senator Bassey Otu, has indicated preparedness to offset the amount before the end of 2023, less than three months away.
Bayelsa — N28bn

Investigation revealed that while Bayelsa State owes over N28 billion in gratuities to retirees dating back to 2007, it is up to date in pension payments.

However, checks by Vanguard on Friday, October 6, 2023, at the Pensions Board, Yenagoa, revealed that gratuity payment by the current administration from February 2020 to September 2023 stood at N14, 253,258,899.22
Akwa Ibom

There is no data on the accumulated arrears in gratuities in Akwa Ibom State, as nobody wants to speak on it from the state government or among union leaders.

But it was gathered that the state is up to date in pensions’ payment.

State chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Sunny James, said: “Gratuity is still outstanding from August 2016 and they (government) are paying gradually now.

‘’Within the current administration, in the first one month, they released N1 billion for teachers, N600million for state workers.

“Last month, they released another N2 billion. This time around, the spread is NI billion to state workers, N500million to teachers and N500million to local government retirees.

A teacher in a public primary school and one of the union leaders, claimed: “Akwa Ibom State government has paid gratuities to retired teachers up to 2014 and 2018 for retired workers.”
Delta — N54bn

For Delta State, checks revealed that it owed over N54 billion pension/gratuities to retirees.

Not long ago, the state government facilitated and guaranteed a N40 billion loan on behalf of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, for the payment of accrued benefits of retired local government workers, primary school teachers, and staff of the Local Education Authorities.

The government runs a contributory pension scheme it entered into in 2007.

Recall, that the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, November, last year, released the sum of N5 billion for payment of pension arrears to retirees.
Benue —N100bn

In Benue, the state government is said to owe pensioners over N100 billion backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuity.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr. Michael Vember, who made this known in Makurdi, said “the government owes local government pensioners 96 months arrears, while the state pensioners are being owed 36 months arrears.

“In all, we are being owed over N100 billion in pension and gratuity at both the state and local government levels.”

The chairman explained that the backlog was accumulated by successive governments in the state.
Plateau — N21 bn

Plateau State is up to date in the payment of pensions, but owes over N21 billion in gratuities and death benefits.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Musa Ashoms, said: “The gratuities are owed to the tune of N21billion, we met four months’ salary arrears which stood at N11 billion but we are doing well in reducing the burden.

‘’As we speak, almost all workers have received the September salary. Only a few of them are left and we are working at clearing that.”

Head of the pensioners in the state, Ben Bello, confirmed that the pensioners’ had been paid their pensions up to date.

“Since 2009, gratuities and death benefits are being owed to the tune of N21 billion. That is for the state retirees but the local government retirees are owed as far back as 2003/2004 and this stands at about N31billion.

‘’We have collected our pensions up to September 2023 but we also want the other aspects of the payments to be looked into too,” he said.
Bauchi — N23 bn

Despite settling over N4 billion without accumulating new ones, Bauchi State still has about N23 billion outstanding pension and gratuityn to pay. They were inherited from previous administrations since 2011.
Nasarawa — N50bn

Also in Nasarawa State, both state and local government retirees are owed over N50billion of unpaid benefits. No official of government was ready to speak on the issue as efforts to get their reactions proved abortive.
Yobe — N2bn

In the same vein, Yobe State government has about N2 billion outstanding payments of gratuities to pay.

The chairman of NLC in the state, Muktar Tarbutu, said: “Government of Governor Mai Mala Buni has continued to release N100 million monthly to offset outstanding payment of gratuities in the state.

In Kwara State, while the government is said to be up to date in pension payments, nobody could give a figure to the amount the government owed in gratuity to pensioners due to a lack of updated data.

But Vanguard findings revealed that gratuity was last paid in May 2011.
Kaduna not owing

Kaduna State Government, it was gathered, is up to date in pension and gratuity payment
Katsina — N10 bn

In Katsina State, pensioners have been paid up to date, it was gathered that it owes not less than N10 billion as at May this year.
Kebbi not owing

Kebbi State is one of the two states that are up to date in pension and gratuity payments.

Despite inheriting backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuities, Atiku Bagudu would go down in the history of Kebbi State as the only governor who never owed salaries, pensions and gratuities.
Adamawa — N4bn

In Adamawa State, pensioners are owed about N4 billion in gratuity and pensions.

Officials of government claimed the backlog of the indebtedness cam from successive governments since 2012.
Taraba mum

In Taraba State, nobody was ready to speak on the unpaid entitlements of the pensioners, but a source told Vanguard that “ the backlog of gratuities for retirees in the state dates back to 2015 and inability to capture over 1000 retirees into the monthly pension is also another challenge.”
Niger N16bn

Also in Niger State, no government official or union leader was willing to speak on the pensions and gratuities issues in the state.

However, as of May this year, the backlog of unpaid gratuities was about a billion
But last year, the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, who is now the deputy governor, Yakubu Garba, declared at the Nigeria Union of Teachers state executive meeting that the state government was owing pensioners in the state a whopping N50 billion and vowed to fight through “constitutional means” for the payment to be effected.
No figure for Borno

Similarly, there was nobody to comment on the pensions and gratuities issues in Borno State.

But it is on record that due to the backlog of billions of naira gratuity owed pensioners in the state, the state governor recently announced a 100 per cent increase in monthly releases for payment of the backlog.

The payment was increased from N100 million monthly (N1.2 billion annually) to N200 million monthly which will amount to N2.4 billion.

The gratuities are lump sums paid to workers who retired from service, even as they become entitled to monthly pensions.

Vanguard learned that the government has released about N20 billion to drastically reduce the backlog.
Abia keeps mum

Abia pensioners are owed 48 months of arrears and 30 months of gratuity arrears.

Coordinator, Abia Pensioners, Chief Emeka Okezie, who confirmed this to Vanguard in Umuahia, however, said the present administration of Governor Alex Otti had been paying monthly pensions since it came on board.

According to him, pensioners in the state are receiving half payment, pending the conclusion of the ongoing verification when the government said it would pay in full.
Anambra N10bn

In Anambra, the state owes N10 billion in outstanding pensions and gratuity arrears.
At the time Governor Chukwuma Soludo assumed office, the state owed about N14 billion in pensions and gratuity to its pensioners, including the local governments.

However, the new administration has been liquidating the inherited pension and gratuity.

Chairman of the state chapter of the NUP, Anthony Ugozor, said Governor Chukwuma Soludo had been consistent in paying the pensioners their monthly pensions.

Apart from the amount owed before Soludo assumed office, additional pension and gratuity arrears have been accumulated.

It was, however, gathered that more than N10 billion is still outstanding. For instance, those on the queue for payment are workers who retired in 2018, while those who retired from 2022 when he became governor, have all been paid.
Enugu N30bn

In Enugu State, the figures are unclear but as at August, gratuity alone was N30 billion.

The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Ben Asogwa, said: “If you are quoting figures, the figures keep varying in the sense that people keep retiring almost on a daily basis and when they retire, it means the figures will keep changing.

‘’So, even as we talk, we are working on a strategy to be able to arrive at an exact figure as at today.

“Some people may tell you it is up to N30 billion on the total, but why I will not be specific on it is that when we talk about pension and gratuity, the one of state is different from that of the local government.

‘’We should be specific, so I would not want to start quoting figures that would not be correct. I am aware that even if the Accountant General should quote figures, he would be quoting estimated figures because we intend to do some level of verification where we’ll be certain that this is what is outstanding.

“As regards monthly pension, we have people that retired from core ministries that are up to date in terms of pension but those that retired from parastatals are not yet there, they are left behind.

‘’I don’t think anybody will be very accurate in giving a figures now because we want to check the figures in such a way that we should be able to say maybe for 2011 this is the exact figure so that at the end, we can be sure of the exact amount, but I’m sure its above N30 billion as at August 2023 for gratuity alone.

Similarly, while no figure has been given as amount Ebonyi State owes in pensions and gratuities payment, the government recently approved the payment of arrears of gratuity to retirees from 1996 to 2021, expending over N3.8billion.

The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Jude Okpor, who stated this in Abakaliki, explained that the present administration was making prompt payments of gratuities and pensions to retirees in the state.

The Chairman of NLC, Ebonyi State, Prof. Ogugua Egwu, confirmed that about N1.8billion had so far been paid to over 800 retirees in the state.

“I am aware that there are over 1,800 retirees who will be cleared for the exercise,’’ Prof. Egwu said.

In Imo State, there is no certainty of the amount owed, whether in pensions or gratutities.

Chairman of the state NLC, George Ofoegbu, said: “The most accurate person to do the calculations is the secretary of the congress, but he travelled out of the state. He is on leave.

“I will intimate him and request him to release the figures. You know this issue of arrears is neither here nor there because people are scattered. Anyway, let me leave it at that until I reach the secretary and get back to you about the figures.”

The state NUP chairman, Josiah Ugochukwu, said: “Ninety-five per cent of pensioners are receiving hundred per cent of pension. We appeal to Governor Hope Uzodimma to see that five per cent of pensioners, including the 2019/2020 pensioners, are accorded their due rights of receiving their pensions like their counterparts, as their hues and cries give the union sleepless night.”…..CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

About the author


Leave a Comment