Kogi pensioners allege illegal deductions from wages
Therefore, the Nigerian Union of Pensioners Kogi State Council has given seven-day ultimatum to Governor Idris Wada to call the Accountant General to order and to withdraw the services of the consultant.
Speaking at a news conference in his office State Chairman of the union, Chief Onuh Abdullahi said whereas pensions have been paid through electronics devices or e- platform since 2012, the Accountant General of the State Ibrahim A. Idakwo misinformed the State Governor that such payments were being made manually.
Meanwhile, as the race for Kogi state governorship election gathers momentum, two-time senator from the eastern part of the state, Senator Nicholas Ugbane has thrown his hat in the ring in the primaries election to slug it out with other 30 political gladiators.
The new entrant who was a former Chairman Senate Committee on Power and INEC declared his intention to contest the Kogi Gubernatorial seat on Friday on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The Accountant General raised a memo in April, 2015 requesting his Excellency to grant approval for introduction of the platform in the payment of monthly pensions and the request was approved instantly.”
He alleged on the strength of the approval the Accountant General has hijacked the payment of monthly pensions from the bureau of State Government’s Pensions and employed the services of a consultant to make the April payments for 2014.
According to him, “The Nigerian Union of Pensioners Kogi State council vehemently opposes the arrangement through writing to the State Governor and other relevant agencies on the possible fallout of the action.
“True to our fears, names of about 225 pensioners were omitted from the payment voucher in April, 2015. Also new placement for receipts of pensioners in April was left out.
“A total sum of over N19.92 million was withheld by the accountant-General from the required total release for pension payment.”
He said the efforts of the union to make the State Government understand that the AG was out to cause confusion and pains to pensioners never received any response.
The chairman said the affected pensioners were yet to receive their pay. Onuh said the AG used the same consultant in May 2015 to effect the payment yet the same mistake happened.
According to him, “The accountant General went ahead to instruct the consultant to deduct varying sums of money ranging from N200 to N1, 000 from salaries of pensioners. He said it was done without any consultation with the union and in gross violation of the law governing payment of pensions.
Onuh expressed dismay why pensioners should be made to pay for services of the consultants under any guise while they are not party to the shady deal.
He said the AG has refused to release N50M for the payment of gratuity, which the union believes he is planning to also hand over to his consultants.
The chairman said whatever reasons the accountant general may bring forth the union see it as an act of illegality because he has disregarded the rule of law by his actions.
He said he has replaced the Bureau of State Government pensions with the consultants.
“The AG has imposed illegal charges that have no approval.
“The checks and balances in the payment of gratuity will not be observed and may lead to possible wrong claims.”
He said the action of the AG is not in the interest of the pensioners neither that of the State in general.