Pensioners Union, NLC Shelve Planned Protest In Abuja, Lagos

By Akin Akande, Abuja
The much anticipated protest by members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and a coalition of Civil Society Organisations over wanton embezzlement of pension funds which was earlier scheduled for Wednesday April 10 in Lagos and Abuja has been shelved.
This was sequel to a fresh agreement struck by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim with the aggrieved parties which culminated in the setting up of a joint committee to harmonise pension payments.
Abdulwaheed Omar, NLC President, announced the suspension at a conference in Abuja on Tuesday where he said government, apparently threatened by the implication of the protest has agreed to the demands raised by the unions.
NUP had among other issues said it was ready to confront  federal government over the withholding of their check-up dues for over a year and the slow pace at which pension payment are being processed by the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
The union grievances also bothers on the non-payment of outstanding arrears to scores of pensioners, non-enrolment of thousands of pensioners on the federal pension payroll, non-payment of death benefits to deserving next of kin, including the full implementation of the report of the Senate joint report on the pension scam.
Omar also said, “The Central Working Committee (CWC) resolves to suspend forthwith the work stoppage/protest march billed to take place on Wednesday April 10 in Lagos and Abuja.
“This is in consideration of the fact that the Federal Government has sufficiently met with the demands of the congress and National Union of Pensioners.
“Including the setting up of a joint committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to harmonise payments as well as resolve sundry matters connected with pension payment and administration of pension funds”.
According to the terms of agreement, government has ordered the withdrawal from court the case between it and the NUP in respect of the pension payments, including the review of pension payment to reflect 53.4 percent wage increase to workers in 2010 and the payment of N18, 000 minimum wages.