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We’re dying – Kadpoly pensioners cry out



Seek help from PTAD

By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A 63-year- old pensioner of Kaduna Polytechnic , Mr. Bala A. Zakka has made some startling revelation on a number of vexing issues, including alleged 16-years unpaid arrears and balance of their gratuity.

Bala Zakka, in an interview with our Kaduna correspondent also lamented that out of about 700 of them that retired from Kaduna Polytechnic under the reform pension, many have died awaiting in vain for the arrears and balance of their gratuity.

He also alleged that Polytechnic management collected a cheques containing certain money for arrears for 24 months but only paid them 15months, and nothing is held of the remaining balance of the 9 months till date.

According to him, their colleagues in other federal government agencies including National Eye Centre, collected same amount, and paid out all to the affected pensioners: Excerpts:

Qus. Tell us who are you, where you worked, your service years and your complaints now sir?

Ans. My name is Bala O. Zakka. I’m 63-yrs-old. I started working in Kaduna polytechnic 29th November 1979 to April 2008. I had my last salary in May 2008. I’ve retired in April 2008, under the new pension reform, earning our salaries on counts.
We earn salary on counts but we’re paid our gratuity on Grade Level (GL) instead of the counts. When they came for screening in 2011 with Pension, Transition Arrangement and Directorate (PTAD), the federal government agency handling payment of the pension. They screen us and confirm in the form of data that the new salary structure is on counts and promised that they’re going to reflect it and pay us the differences of the gratuity.

We waited but nothing came and they came again and conducted another fresh last screening and said we should wait for the arrears, that they’ll pay us our actual differences and implement the counts on our pension. Up til that time and now the implementation did not take place, they’ve not pay us the differences.

Qus. What’s the differences?
Ans. The differences that i saw in one of the pension office in gazette was about over 400,000. Now they said we should wait for the payment, that the differences will reflect, but till now nothing has been done. Up till December 2017 when the minister announced that our arrears will be paid and that there’s money for that, in the PTAD, and that everybody will be cleared even within that December, but nothing happen till now.
They shift it to July 2022 to pay and said the reason is because the minister re- schedule it, but till now nothing has been heard again.

Qus: On the counts, can you expatriate?
Ans: As someone who retired on counts 8.15, I supposed to be collecting 66,000, monthly, as the way they give the data. But they slash it to 56,000. There was 30% rise, that now rise to 61,000. The increase is just 6, 000, that’s what I’m earning now, 61,000.

This affected all the categories of my colleagues. So I’m pleading them to do something for us. We’re stranded. And many of us have lost their lives. We’re still waiting and crying to see that they give us something.

Qus: Are you aware of any pensioner or pensioners who have been paid their own?
And: The Immigration, the Warders carry lawyers at that time, and they were able to pay them their entitlement even what we’re owning as they were owning. Their own has been paid them, everything, with maybe only 6 month remaining.

The meeting they had last with national Union comprising of army civilian, precisely on 28th July -29 this year, they promised to pay us. But that there was disagreement between them because PTAD said they want to split the payment to 3 times. But the union said since is not every pensioner that are affected, it should be pay at once. Since them we didn’t hear anything again.
Qus: How about your usual monthly pension?
And: Our usual monthly pension on GL has been running uninterrupted, and we are commending them for that. We’re talking about the arrears and balance of our gratuity that suppose go also come in all our pensions. They don’t delay army’s own payment because is a separate account, but only the civilians suffering the delay.

Qus: You also talked about certain amount of money sent to the Polytechnic authority as arrears, can you explain?

Ans: Again, in addition to that there was certain amount of money sent as arrears around December 2019, about 24 months arrears to our management. They collected the cheque. The management paid 15 months leaving 9months. Till date we’ve not seen anything again.

The arrears and balance of gratuity does not affect civilians who retired on their own. Only we the reform staff. For instance while I collected gratuity of N2 million only, or N2. 3 75 million, my colleagues before then collected N6- N7 millions as gratuity.
Qus: How many of the retirees are affected or victims of this shortfalls?
Ans Well the affected numbers of retired staff is 700 from kadpoly but many have died awaiting the arrears of gratuity and left their family and love ones suffering.

Qus: What do you want say to government
Me and my colleagues are appealing to the federal Government to help us come to aide. Many of us are dying. No security for farming now. To see the daily bread now is hard. Even though they’ve been trying in monthly payment, let them try more to assist us because it’ll help us to reduce the tension on us because of our responsibilities.

Affected army representatives reluctantly ate heavy banquet lunch provided for them during the last meeting they had with PTAD on ground that they were not there for such balance diet when their colleagues are suffering. And is not going to be there for them continuously to eat with their other retired pensioners. All they said they want is their money not eating food there”, Zakka stated.

Contacted, some staff of PTAD office in Kaduna , said the matter is beyond their schedule and directed our correspondent to contact the their headquarters in Abuja.
They however, acknowledged notice of “I’m Alive Verification” being conducted on affected Kaduna polytechnic pensioners in the state”, for N200.00 cost of data.

Also in the same vain, these allegations were corroborated by the Polytechnic pensioners executive officials when contacted during investigation.


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PDP Crisis: Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Others Get Soft Landing



…..Party Rescinds Sanctions

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rescinded sanctions slammed on former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and ex-Senate President, Pius Anyim, over alleged anti-party activities.

Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina state and other party Chieftains also sanctioned got soft landings after a crucial meeting of the national working committee of the party yesterday in Abuja

Recall that the party top shots were suspended by the embattled Iyorchia Ayu leadership over alleged anti party activities

But in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday Thursday, March 30, the party announced that its National Working Committee,NWC, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains.

Ologunagba noted that the PDP NWC also reversed Governor Ortom’s referral to the party’s disciplinary committee.

He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today, Thursday, March 30, 2023, extensively discussed recent developments in the party.

“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following members of our great party: H.E Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State); Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State); Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).

“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our party at this critical time.

“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the PDP spokesperson stated.

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DSS ING Alarm:Legal Means Can Be Deployed To Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration- HURIWA



Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday said there was nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 because the February 25, 2023 election that produced him is still being actively challenged in court by leading candidates in the poll.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the so-called alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday that some politicians are plotting an interim government should not be used as an obstacle to stop the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s Victory

The DSS warning followed a petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo that the DSS should invite Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their rejection of Tinubu as the President-Elect.

Similarly, Atiku had earlier in March led a protest to the Abuja office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the result of the February 25 poll declared by the electoral umpire.

Both Atiku and Obi alleged electoral malpractices in the poll and are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as President-Elect by INEC.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Department of State Services should not rope in powerful opposition forces such as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar with a view to finding some frivolous charges to hang on their necks to frustrate their formidable petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.

“The DSS must work for all of Nigeria and not work as errand boys of Tinubu and his allies who only recently made claims that some persons want to stop his swearing in. By the way, there is nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop his inauguration because the election is being actively challenged. Nothing should be used as obstacles to obstruct Obi and Atiku’s petitions.

He advised that ,“The DSS should go after arm smugglers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists and leave politicking for politicians.”

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Edo NUJ Felicitates Arase Over Appointment As Chairman PSC



The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council has felicitated with Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector General of Police on his appointment as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

In a statement signed by the union Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, the union described the appointment as well deserved.

The union expressed optimism that Arase will bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment to his father land.

The union prayed God Almighty to grant him the knowledge and wisdom to reposition the Police Service Commission for better service delivery.

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