By Rounfoffnews.

Pensioners in Nigeria have appealed to the Federal government  to consider and approve free medical treatments for all retirees who are 70 years of age and above across the country.

National president of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners Dr Abel Afolayan made the appeal in his address to commemorate this years Pensioner’s Day.

In the address which was delivered by the Ekiti state chairman of NUP Elder Ayo  Kumapayi, Dr Afolayan explained that offering free medical treatment to retirees would enhance their standard of living as many pensioners have lost their lives untimely due to lack of resources to access medicare.

“Free health treatment is a very important welfare package consideration that can be accorded pensioners and senior citizens for their past noble services to the nation. The labour of our heroes past should not be allowed to be in vain.

The retirees also advocated a special ministry that would cater for issues affecting senior citizens.

“The Union will very much appreciate if  Buhari-led administration whose mantra of change has been globally acknowledged can approve the creation of a full fledged Ministry of Pension and Senior Citizens Affairs  like the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development was created.  

“This Ministry, if created, will cater adequately for the welfare of pensioners, old people and senior citizens throughout Nigeria as it is practised in developed countries of the world.

“Closely related to this request is the retention and strengthening of National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). We request that these two pension agencies (the former in charge of Contributory Pension Scheme and the latter in charge of the  Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) be retained and strengthened as parastatals under the proposed Ministry.

“One major problem compounding our members agonizing situation which we would like to plead with the Buhari administration to look into passionately is the Federal Government’s failure to pay regularly their 5% counterpart fund into the local government fund which was started as prescribed by government but stopped sometimes ago without just cause whatsoever. This stoppage has been adversely affecting regular payment of monthly pensions to the Local government pensioners and primary school pensioners who are being paid from this fund.

” It is a tripartite funding by the three tiers of government.  We plead with the Federal government to direct for strict compliance with this counterpart funding. We hope the Federal Government will lead the way by showing the example and paying its share of the counterpart funding.

Dr Afolayan equally pleaded with government to make the payment of pensioners allowances  first line charge by ensuring early payment of pensions before payment of workers’ wages as a mark of honour and respect for the senior citizens while he equally called for appointment of retirees into political offices.

“There are many members of our Union who were retired prematurely for various reasons before reaching retirement age or before serving for 35 years as required by the Labour Law/Pensions Act. We wish to request that this category of pensioners and many elderly members of the Union who are still capable should be considered for appointment at the appropriate government establishment so as to tap from their wealth of experience. Such members can be given due consideration  in appointing them to chairmanship and membership of Commissions, Boards and Parastatals.

He congratulated  members throughout the country on the occasion of this year Pensioners Day Celebration and gave an assurance all Nigerian pensioners that we shall do everything within our power to see to it that all the pains of the Union members as regards their retirement entitlement are mitigated.

In his message, the Head of Service, Mr Ayodeji Ajayi promised that government would continue to give improved priority to the welfare of pensioners.

Highpoint of the event was the appreciation of the former Accountant General of the state Mrs Owolabi for giving prominence to issues of pensioners while in office.