Chairman Nigeria Union of Pensioners, National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency (NSRMEA) Mr. Babatunde Adeyomo, yesterday revealed that NICON Insurance is owing his members a whopping sum of about N40 million gratuity from 2005 to date.
The chairman who disclosed this to journalists at the end of the meeting of the pensioners of the agency in the office yesterday said the exploration agency had over N100 million deposited with the NICON already, stressing that if the money was rightly handled by the insurance company there would not have been any default.
He said when they met with the current General Manager of the NICON over the matter the GM told them that government took over the affairs of the scheme including the funds at one time, saying that when it was returned to their administration, the funds did not come back with it which made it difficult for them to meet up with their obligations.
Adeboye further stated that rather than paying the gratuity of 37 retiree of the agency, NICON gave them a lists of its property put on sale, to assist them look for buyers to sell the properties to be able to pay their gratuity.
“What they have done is to offer some of their properties for sale, we are not suppose to be their estate agent, but even if they are going to sell anything, that should not be our own concern. Our own concern is that government should put his house in order and make sure that what is due to people are pay to them. How they go about it, selling their property is not own problem.
The list 10 of NICON Developed Properties for sale made available to The Union contained descriptions and locations of the properties with total capital value and forced value put at over N9milion and N6milion only respectively.
The pensioners’ chairman also lamented that “for the gratuity to be lingering for 10 years does not speak good for any administration, appealing to the current administration to look into the matter and come out with solution very urgently.
He also stated that they thought of legal options but could not do otherwise due to lack of legal fee and fear of dragging the matter too long in court system. “ let me say something here, NICON would come up with #1milion in 3 months and because of that they are claiming they are paying”, he said, adding that within a year they may manage to released only #3milion on something that has been due since 2005 and 2007.
Also throwing light on the matter he described as pathetic situation, leader of the 37 affected retirees Mr. Christopher. A who retired as Assistant Director from the agency since 2006 said he has not received his gratuity till date.
He explained that the office get her money through a defined benefit scheme in which government paid money into the insurance coffer so that pensioners could get their money after the retirement as quickly as possible.
According to him after three months or even six weeks or retirement, pensioner should have gotten their money under normal circumstances, wondering why 9-10 years past without gratuity.
He expressed regret that many of their members died for lack access to medical treatment while their families and children were sent out of rented houses and schools for lack money, saying government paid excess of the required amount needed to pay them into the deposits administration account up to date.
-Idibia Gabriel, Kaduna