Nigeria Union of Pensioners has expressed its dissatisfaction over what it described as Federal Government’s refusal to extend coronavirus palliatives to its members despite its plea to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The pensioners’ union said it had written a letter to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating the challenges of its members in meeting their daily needs and the importance of protecting them through extension of the palliative measure to them.
NUP President, Abel Afolayan, disclosed that the pensioners, who were aged people, deserved government support because the pandemic was not friendly with them. He said, “We thought the task force would establish contact with the pensioners’ union after our pleading and letter dated April 17, 2020, stating that our members should be considered in the palliative measure.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to be contacted. During the briefing by the PTF, our agitation was raised by the media but it was tactically ignored by the chairman of the PTF. “The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said that the aged are vulnerable and should be protected. How else do you protect them if not by extending palliative to them to stay at home and be healthy?”
Afolayan said government palliatives to the poor could best be managed and accounted for if they were distributed to organised groups like the NUP. According to him, government had been distributing the palliatives to the wrong people. He stated that amount paid pensioners monthly qualified them as poor people.
He added, “Government is giving palliatives to people it does not know, so we can assume that the palliatives have been going to the wrong hands. If a union like the NUP is contacted both at the national and state levels, government can be assured that the palliatives will go into the right people with record of identity.”
“The number of pensioners in Nigeria is in millions and you can reach out to them personally through the union. “If the definition given by the Federal Government is that the poorest of the poor should be given the palliatives, which other group is more qualified than pensioners who receive between N3,000 and N5,000 per month as pension? Moreover, this is a vulnerable group because they are aged. We have made contact with the government but the government has not embraced us to see through our challenge.”