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Jonathan approves pensions for colonial officers

By The Citizen

The Federal Government has approved about £146,000 (N36m) for the payment of pensions of five former heads of service that served in the country during the colonial era.

They are all alive and living in the United Kingdom.

Although government did not give their names, it said the youngest of them is 81 years old while the oldest is 106.

The money is allocated for payment over the next 25 years within which they are expected to still be alive.

The allocation for the pension payments for the colonial officers employed by the British Government come at a time the Federal Government is yet to clear backlogs of pensions of its retired workers running into billions of naira.

Some Federal Government retirees were paid their pensions last in May and their representatives have had to embark on several fruitless trips to Abuja to lobby for the payments.

Before now, many Nigerians had thought that such burden was being borne by the government of the United Kingdom, but the revelations by Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, underlined the present circumstances. Aji spoke yesterday at a town hall meeting with members of staff under the auspices of the Joint Union Negotiating Council at the Public Service Institute, PSIN, in Abuja.

The National Union of Pensioners (NUP) reacted angrily to the disclosures saying it was wrong for government to be paying ex-colonial officers when it was yet to clear the backlog of check-off dues owed the NUP of which only six months arrears was paid, while the pensioners are still owed about eight months by the government.

The General Secretary of NUP, Elder Actor Zal, said yesterday that about eight months arrears are still pending, while countless pensioners have died or too old to pursue the entitlements.

The NUP general secretary while responding further to questions on the announcement that colonial officers who served the nation decades ago are to benefit from the Federal Government largesse, said though he was not aware of the development yet, that it would be wrong and out of place for the government to insist on making payments to colonial officers, when members of the NUP that have been long cleared and approved for payment were yet to be paid. - National Mirror.