After Aljazirah’s unrelenting investigations, FG finally pays arrears to pensioners

After Aljazirah’s unrelenting investigations, FG finally pays arrears to pensioners

By Amina Isah, Abuja

After an elaborate investigation by Aljazirahnews reporters detailing the refusal of the authorities to release a 12 months’ salary arrears owed many federal pensioners despite their plaintive pleas, the funds have finally been released to the senior citizens who have been traumatised by this delay.

Many of the elated pensioners received payments alerts simultaneously last week and thanked Aljazirahnews for doing dogged work to ensure they were not shortchanged in the process leading to the eventual payments.

It would be recalled that while most prominent newspaper outlets including government officials had reported that the pensioners had been paid fully the contentious 12 months’ arrears, it was only Aljazirahnews and Daily Trust reporters that investigated the veracity of the claim and found out that this was untrue.

In interactions with many of the affected pensioners, Aljazirahnews had found out that they were left out of the payment while their other colleagues received theirs.

Our reporters had made spirited attempts despite uncooperative efforts of key government officials to find out why the pensioners in their hundreds had not been paid even though the government utilized prominent news outlets to announce that no pensioner was left out.

The investigations had taken our reporters to establishments such as the Pension Trust Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, (OAGF), the Central Bank of Nigeria and banks tasked with the payment of the pensions.

Head, Corporate Communications, PTAD, Theodora Amaechi in response to enquiries had initially expressed doubts that the pensioners had not been paid but after internal enquiries later said the directorate would treat the pensioners’ complaints with utmost dispatch and urgency.

But for weeks the pensioners did not receive the payments despite the assurances.

The frantic pensioners who visited the outfit said they were directed to their respective banks to make enquiries.

A senior official at ECOBANK, who did not want his name in print later told Aljazirahnews that the fault was not with the banks since the new payment systems employed by the government to pay salaries and entitlements of its staff including the pensioners did not allow the banks to handle the cash since the bank accounts of the pensioners were credited directly from the CBN.

He said the delay may have been due to the lack of cash backing from government, a claim denied by PTAD which said no payment was approved if there was no cash to back it up.

He directed the pensioners to forward their complaints to the OAGF.

A senior officer at the OAGF who had responded to the enquiries of the medium had also affirmed that the payments had been approved but could not give an adequate response as to why the pensioners had not received the cash.

Meanwhile the pensioners continued to wait endlessly while Aljazirahnews conducted its unrelenting investigations.

Finally, a week ago, the pensioners started receiving payment alerts but with a new set of problems.

While some were paid short, a few others received more payment that they were entitled to.

However, enquiries made by Aljazirahnews revealed that the errors were technical and has since been rectified.

A cross section of the pensioners expressed thanks to Aljazirahnews for standing by them and seeing that their issues were resolved.

They also appeal to the Federal Government to ensure that the remaining 18 months’ arrears owed them be paid before the end of the year so that they will enjoy the festive season.

Aljazirahnews gathered from PTAD that the FG has initiated the process of paying the remaining arrears.

The arrears are part of an outstanding 30 months’ arrears of salary increment approved by the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Nigerian Online Newspaper=

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