The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has issued a stern warning of an imminent mass protest, citing their struggle against the economic downturn that has left many members in dire circumstances.
NUP President, Godwin Abumisi, expressed the urgency of the situation during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He revealed that the economic downturn had taken a toll on pensioners, leading to a surge in the cost of living and the unfortunate loss of around 1,500 union members due to economic hardships.
Mr. Abumisi highlighted the grim reality faced by pensioners, where some receive as little as N450 as a monthly pension, emphasizing the inability of the union to provide essential resources.
He criticized the government’s lack of consideration for the well-being of the elderly population, stating, “In Nigeria, the government does not think about the poor people.”
The NUP president disclosed that pensioners in various states, especially in the South-East, are grappling with meager monthly pensions ranging from N500 to N1,000.
He attributed these low rates to the non-harmonization of pensions and the failure to implement the N18,000 minimum wage review in 2010 and the subsequent N30,000 minimum wage in 2019 by many states.
Abumisi condemned the excuses put forth by state governments, asserting that their inability to implement previous wage reviews had adversely affected pension increases.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the federal government’s increased allocation to states, deeming it unacceptable and unpardonable.
In a bold move, Mr. Abumisi announced the NUP’s proposal for a national minimum pension of N100,000 to the tripartite committee, aligning it with the Nigeria Labour Congress’s proposed N200,000 national minimum wage.
He warned that anything short of this proposal would lead to nationwide protests, particularly in Abuja, emphasizing the sufferings of pensioners amid the escalating cost of living.
Reiterating their call to be included in the tripartite committee on national minimum wage, Mr. Abumisi concluded by vowing to lead a mass protest if the federal government fails to address the pressing demands of the pensioners.
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