The National Union of Pensioners has lamented the hardship many retirees are facing in some states as they receive as low as N450, N500 and N1,000 as a monthly pension.
The President of the union, Godwin Abumisi, made this known during a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Abumisi said the union had lost about 1,500 of its members in recent times due to economic hardship and the high cost of living in the country.
Expressing concern for members experiencing significant hardships, he noted that the union does not have available resources to distribute food items to pensioners across Nigeria.
He said the widespread issue of retirees receiving extremely low pension payments, ranging from N450 to N1,000, was particularly prevalent in the South East states.
He further said the difference in pension rates across the country was due to a lack of harmonisation, which the union has consistently advocated for.
The NUP president stressed that the situation is exacerbated by the failure of many states to implement the reviewed minimum wage of N18,000 in 2010 and N30,000 in 2019.
Abumisi stated that the failure of many state governments to implement and review the minimum wage has further led to pension increases corresponding to these wage reviews not being realised in the referenced states.
He said: “In Nigeria, the government does not think about the poor people.
“Otherwise, how can pensioners in Enugu receive as low as N450 as a monthly pension?
“We have been saying this, but it seems as if we are crying wolf, but it is a reality.
“This is also due to the non-implementation and payment of the previously reviewed N18,000 minimum wage in 2010 and the N30,000 minimum wage in 2019 by many states of the federation.
“Sadly, the non-implementation of these salary reviews in the states has affected the corresponding increases in pensions in the various states under reference.
“The union takes exception to and disagrees with the untenable excuses by the state governments that they cannot afford the implementation and payment of the previous wage reviews.”
In addition, Abumisi said that the increase in federal allocation to states by the present administration was unacceptable and unpardonable.
According to him, in the interest of fairness and justice, the NUP will propose N100,000 as the National Minimum Pension to the Tripartite Committee in line with the proposed N200,000 National Minimum Wage by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
He noted that anything short of that would incur the wrath of the pensioners, who were hard-hit by the prevailing economic hardship spawned by the ever-rising cost of living.
He said: “I want to make it clear: I am going to lead Nigerian pensioners in a protest so that the world will see that pensioners are suffering.
“We have the authority of our members to call for a mass protest across the country, particularly in the capital city of Abuja, if our demands are not addressed by the Federal Government.”
Recall that in 2023, the Federal Government indicated an interest in raising the pension of retirees.
This was contained in the report on the harmonisation of pensions submitted to the Federal Government by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
The NSIWC told the executive committee of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (All Sectoral Units/Parastatals) Nationwide that the commission was following up on the report it submitted to the Federal Government as regards the pensions of retirees.