The Federal Capital Territory’s Commissioner of the Public Complaints Commission, Hon. Obunike Ohaegbu has appealed to the Office of Head of Service of the Federation to intensify efforts to ameliorate the plight of federal pensioners in the country.
Ohaegbu made the appeal in Abuja on Thursday when he paid a courtesy call to the office of the Head of Service of the Federation. The Commissioner, who was received by the acting Head of Service and a Permanent Secretary in the Career Management Office of the office,Mr. Mohammed Abbas said the visit was in reaction to numerous complaints that have been forwarded to the Office from his Commission which no satisfactory results has been achieved. He lamented the predicament of pensioners across the country who had been waiting endlessly to receive their pensions and gratuities.
“What we do is to look at administrative injustice,if there is any complain of such.And because of the nature of work we do,we actually do a lot with your office,the Head of Service of the Federation, especially in the areas concerning pension. We have a little bit of challenge,we understand that getting one’s pension and gratuity paid is not like going to a supermarket and get something off the counter. The problem we have is that a times we discover that some of the petitions ,when we have submitted all the relevant documents months later six,seven months the pension haven’t been paid” he said.
Responding,Mr. Abbas commended the Commissioner for his efforts and attributed the complications in the pension system to problematic record keeping that have pervaded every facet of the public sector and lack of credibility which has forced the Federal Government to be cautious about releasing funds to pension offices.
He said, “I really commend you for your efforts. It is a shame today in Nigeria we do not have good,accurate statistics and system in place ,of who worked,where he worked ,for how long did he work ,when did he retire or die in active service ,what is his entitlements,who is his next of kin? Record keeping in Nigeria is archaic.
“In pension cases,you will divide the reasons into sub categories.One,some don’t keep these records because that’s the only way they can perpetrate corruption and theft. That’s in pedestrian terms,inflating the figures,numbers of pensioners and duplicating names.Second,
He also blamed the difficulties most retirees encounter in accessing their pensions and gratuities on some public offices’ inability to timely process their retirees pension records for onward submission to pension offices. He cited the case of the Police Pension office where he worked in the past as a Director,adding that it takes the Police authorities an average of six to seven years to process a retiree’s pension record before forwarding it to the Police Pension office. He further assured the Commissioner that his office will continue to liaise with the new Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) to ensure pensioners who retired before June 30th 2007 on the Defined pension scheme receives their pensions and gratuities