The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for offsetting the more than 42-month pension arrears owed to its members nationwide.
The head of Information of the union, Mr Bunmi Ogunkolade, in Abuja, yesterday, that the money was paid through the Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
Ogunkolade said: "President Muhammadu Buhari has prioritised pension payment, hence the joy and support of pensioners to his administration.
He described the feat as laudable and appealed to the president to sustain his effort.
He said that it was remarkable that pensioners in Nigeria had enjoyed regular payment of their pensions under the present administration.
The NUP president commended Yobe, Kano, Ogun, Anambra and Jigawa states for prioritising the payment of pensions.
He, however, regretted that some states, including Imo and Kogi, were still lagging behind.
He said: "If we are to do an overview of pension activities under this regime, we have said it time without number, that pensioners in Nigeria are grateful to him.
"In four years of Buhari's administration, we had 42 months pension arrears of 33.4 per cent pension increase in 2010.
"And in spite of the economic situation, Nigeria went into recession and came out of it, the government, through PTAD, cleared it all."
The NUP president, however, said that the union was still awaiting a circular from the National Salaries and Wages Commission for the full implementation of the 15 per cent increase.
He said that the circular was necessary to enable them to know what each pensioner was entitled to get.
"The union has protested and written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and still awaits further discussions to resolve the issue.
"The table of implementation is not out, they have not spoken to us, so the union is waiting for government to talk to us as a body, so that we know where we are, and when implementation will start," Ogunkolade said.
He also spoke on the ongoing verification by PTAD, saying that he had directed the union members in the parastatal agencies in the North East to visit the verification centres in Borno, Adamawa and Bauchi to be captured in the pensioners' database.
He said that the exercise had become necessary, following reports that some persons missed out in the past due to tangible reasons.
Ogunkolade said that the union would have loved to be part of the negotiations and agreements on minimum wage but expressed satisfaction that PTAD made submissions on behalf of pensioners.
He said that there was need for the three tiers of government to take care of pensioners, describing pensioners as the "chicken that laid the golden eggs" in their active years.
He said "Government should do the needful and take care of them to be a good example to those who are still in service. This is one panacea to stop corruption.
"If somebody that is working today discovers that the country will not take care of him when he grows old, he will rather take care of himself while he is still in active service."