Defunct PHCN Retirees in Rivers Seek Prompt Payment of Gratuities

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The retired employees of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Rivers on Monday demanded full payment of their gratuities and pensions.

The President of the pensioners, Mr Ufeme Toka, told newsmen in Port Harcourt that their situation was not only inexcusable but very dehumanising.

Toka said that the continued Federal Government indebtedness to the pensioners had increased their hardship and in most cases had led to the death of the retirees.

“Over 5,000 former employees that were retrenched and retired from PHCN nationwide are in serious poverty today.

“Many of them are in miserable conditions due to lack of funds, yet government keeps saying they have earmarked money for us,’’ Toka said.

He also called for the immediate payment of all their entitlements, adding that it was imperative to rescue the retirees from the doldrums of financial handicap.

Toka urged the Federal Government to consider the plight of the retirees whom, he said, had degenerated so badly.

According to him, the payment is discriminatory and inconsistent with familiar rules and regulations of the organisation.

The pensioners’ leader urged the National Assembly to reclassify the defunct PHCN Pension Fund from capital supplement to service wide vote aimed at making “monthly payments seamless”.

“December 2013 pension was paid in January 2014, after Christmas and New Year festivities, January and February paid by mid-March, while March and April have yet to be paid,’’ he said.

He decried the non-chalant attitude of government to their plight, stressing that the situation was detrimental to its aged and sick members.

Also speaking, the Secretary of the organisation, Mr Bob Manuel, appealed to the Federal Government to save its members from an imminent trauma situation.

Manuel said that the state of pensioners in Nigeria was discouraging and embarrassing to the younger generation of workers.

He said that workers were the engine room of every economy and must be handled with integrity and honour.

Manuel also commended President Goddluck Jonathan for engendering transformational measures in Nigeria.

He urged Jonathan to extend the transformation agenda toward the improvement of national pension scheme and pensioners welfare.

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