Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says as a pensioner, President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about issues related to salaries and pensions.
Turaki Hassan, spokesman of Dogara, quoted the speaker to have said this when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, led Abel Afolayan, its national president.
He said since public office holders took an oath to defend the constitution, it would be a failure on their part if pensions are not paid.
“The president is a pensioner himself, he is and I know that he has always been concerned about issues related to salaries and pensions,” Dogara was quoted to have said.
“He has been so concerned that he has extended assistance to state governments to bail them out with funds to pay for salaries and pension at state levels and I believe having taken such steps he won’t be so unconcerned about his own responsibility to pensioners of the federal Republic.
“So, I believe there is a disconnect somewhere and that is what we have to connect now and to see that even if the last person in the state gets his salary and pension, if we don’t address our pensioners at the federal level, we have failed. And that message will be delivered by God’s grace.”
The speaker said the government is not doing anybody a favour by paying pensioners their wage.
“If pension is a right and pensioners must be paid, it means that the federal government is indebted, it is in debt and if it is paid, the government is not doing a favour to anybody, we don’t even deserve any thanks because pension earned is a right,” he said.
He also said that the lower legislative chamber would invite all key players in charge of pension to appear in plenary next week Thursday to speak on how they plan to clear the pension liabilities.
On his part Afolayan, said the national assembly should offset the N200 billion pension liabilities owed pensioners across the country.
He also appealed that pension should be put on first line charge to put an end to the traditional rigorous budgetary allocation process.