Against the backdrop of issues of unpredictable pension payment regime and unpaid pensions plaguing different states in Nigeria, the South-South Zone of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) has hailed the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in Edo State for a regime of uninterrupted pension payment in the state.
Chairman, South-South Zone of the NUP, Pullen Noruwa, said this at the South-South Zonal Forum of the NUP, held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Noruwa lauded Governor Obaseki for his commitment to the welfare of pensioners, whose monthly pension had been uninterrupted since he assumed office.
Noruwa, who is also the chairman of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Edo State chapter, appealed to the state government to reinstate the deduction of 1 percent union dues, among other requests.
Edo State Head of Service (HoS), Isaac Ehiozuwa, said Governor Obaseki’s passion to keep retirees happy had paved the way for the state to develop a phased payment plan in settling pension arrears accumulated from as far back as 1999.
Ehiozuwa said this plan by the state had resulted in the payment of arrears of pensions without hindrance, stressing that the days of waiting on rolls to get paid were over.
Noting that the state government has approved the automatic migration to the pension system for retired civil servants, he said, “I appeal to civil servants who are about to retire to key into the laid down procedure to avoid a situation where pensioners will have to suffer avoidable hardship after disengagement from service.”
This strategy, he said, will put an end to protests by pensioners and tackle the non-payment of pension arrears. He advised aggrieved members of the NUP to channel their grievances through the duly recognised NUP body led by Noruwa for redress.
Meanwhile, the state governor has urged electorate in the state to vote candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) vying for seats in the March 9 State Assembly election, to sustain the sanity and best practice in revenue collection at markets and motor parks across the state.
Obaseki, who called on electorate across the state to come out in their numbers to vote for APC candidates in the election, said an APC-controlled House of Assembly would ensure that touts do not return to lay siege on markets and motor parks for revenue collection.
He explained that the reforms that had transformed revenue collection in the state were made possible with the full support of members of the outgoing assembly, adding, “As a result of these reforms, traders in markets and transport operators across the state are no longer subjected to harassment by revenue collectors who in the past hassled traders and commercial transport operators, and in some instances, confiscated their goods.
“By sustaining these reforms, Edo State will continue to take the lead in the ease of doing business in South-South Nigeria, as more investors are being attracted to the state, a development that has created more job opportunities and decent means of livelihoods for Edo people,” he said.
Underscoring the impact of healthy relationship between the executive and legislative arms of government, the governor stressed the need to sustain the level of cooperation between both arms of government, by voting for all APC candidates across the 24 state constituencies.
The governor said his administration had sustained interventions in the health, educational, agricultural as well as several other sectors of the state, through sound reform programmes.
“I need the support of the House of Assembly to ensure that we do more to boost investor confidence and create more wealth for our people.
“With the transparent system we have created for revenue generation, we are ensuring that tax payers benefit from government programmes and policies, such as road construction and reconstruction, remodelling of Primary Health Care Centres and schools across the state. We need a House of Assembly that will not pull us back by projecting their own interests,” he said.