Hundreds of Nigerian workers who retired from the employ of the Federal Government have not been paid their pension in the past six months, Vanguard has learnt.
The government has, however, not been able to explain to the affected workers why it had not remitted its share of the contributory pensions to the National Pension Commission, Pencom, for onward remittance to their respective Pension Funds Administrators, PFAs.
There are at least 54,558 retirees from public and private sectors of the economy, who collect a monthly sum of N1.77 billion under the Contributory Pension Scheme,CPS.
Under the scheme, the Federal Government makes available a certain amount of money while the workers contribute a certain percentage of their salary to sustain the CPS, which is being administered by PENCOM but remitted monthly via their chosen PFAs.
However, finding by Vanguard revealed that the Federal Government had not remitted its share of the pension fund to the pension agency since May this year.
The delay in remitting the amount, which is said to be in the region of N11 billion, has caused anxiety among the beneficiaries, who daily throng the premises of the commission to seek clarifications on why they have not been paid.
Some of the retirees were sighted at the commission premises, yesterday, in small groups to demand payment but did not get any at the end of the day.
The Pension Commission, it was gathered, has been managing to calm down the aggrieved retirees, who believe erroneously that it is the agency that is holding on to their payment.
Paradoxically, the commission has refused to comment on the development, apparently out of the fear of being reprimanded for presenting its employers in bad light.
Although our correspondent visited the commission to find out why the retirees were not paid, no official was willing to talk on the development, although they tried to appeal to the growing number of retirees that their money would soon be paid.
One of the affected pensioners told Vanguard that it was unbecoming of the government to withhold its own share of the pension at a time the cost of living was becoming almost unbearable for the average Nigerian.
“We want to know why the government is keeping back our little entitlement and that is why we are here,” one elderly woman, who retired some years ago from the Federal Pay Office, Minna, said.
Several attempts to talk with officials of PENCOM proved abortive, as they relevant officers were said to be attending to some other pressing issues at the time.
The Federal Government had recently released N34 billion for the settlement of outstanding pensions of the affected retirees before the accumulation of the new figure.
However a competent source said that the government was aware of the unremitted amount and would soon release money to offset the backlog.