Hundreds of retirees of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Wednesday staged a protest at the Marina Headquarters of the organisation over what they called non-payment of their enhanced pension benefits.
The protesters had converged on the towering office in the morning, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “NPA pay us our benefits“, “Ms Hadiza, our pension is our right“ and so on.
Some of the placards read: “NPA Management pay us as you have been paying yourselves’’..
Other inscriptions are: “Your enjoyment is our labour, pay us’’; “Harmonise our pension benefits’’ and “Hadiza, Woman of Integrity’’.
There was gridlock on the ever-busy Marina road for several hours as the protesters lined both sides and chanted songs demanding for the immediate payment of their enhanced pension arrears.
“So, what we are demanding is the arrears on the normal increment that should have been added on our pension benefits to enable retirees cope with life“, he said.
Binitie said the retirees under the aegis of “Concerned Pensioners of NPA“ had made appeals to successive administrations of the organisation on the need to pay the enhanced pensions with no success.
He said though the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman was still new in the system, she should look into the issue raised by retirees without delay to alleviate their sufferings.
Binitie said that for 10 years, the management of NPA had not been able to increase their pension. .
“We have over 11,000 pensioners of NPA all over country.
We have been meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and now we have decided to come to NPA to express our feelings.
“We are planning to shutdown all the ports in Nigeria if they refuse to fulfil our demands,’’ Binitie said.
He commended the Management of NPA under the leadership of Ms Hadiza Usman for listening to their demands and for promised positive response.
Binitie also commended the efforts of the pensioners who trooped out to express their rights and engage in peaceful demonstration.
Also speaking, Mr Austin Adaridho, an Ex-executive member of NPA staff Union, said most ex-workers of the organisation had not been finding life easy owing to non-implementation of the enhanced pension.
The 2007 retiree said some pensioners got as little as N10,000 monthly, pointing out that the amount was too little for retirees to feed themselves let alone meet their other needs.
“We are calling on the NPA Management to implement the 33 per cent pension increment by the government and save retirees from dying .
“Things have been so difficult for some of the old workers,
“We are begging the management to reward our labour and show little appreciation for our contributions to the organisation,“ he said.
Adaridho said the retirees were fed up with excuses and could resort to actions that the NPA management would find embarrassing if nothing was done.
The NPA managing director assured that all pensioners qualified for pension increase in line with Federal Government Constitutional provision would enjoy same.
In her address to the representatives of the concerned pensioners of the NPA, she said that a committee would be set up to work out the details of the payment.
Usman said that the Authority “operates a salary structure different from the Federal Government Harmonised Public Service Salary and its associate structures’’.
She said that the Management assured the pensioners of monthly payment of pensions, saying that a mechanism would be put in place to guarantee adjustments that would be sustainable.