Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state has been described as a number-one pensioner-friendly governor in Nigeria in recognition of his administration’s drive to cater to the welfare of pensioners and retirees in the state.
The president of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Abel Afolayan, disclosed this during the official commissioning of the union’s brand-new national headquarters in Abuja.
Mr Afolayan, therefore, urged the rest of the governors to learn from Mr Gaidam for his consistency in the payment of pensions.
“You love us, and we love you. You pay our members’ entitlements as and when due. I thank you for your giant stride in clearing all pension arrears, spending a total of N6 billion to defrost all pension liabilities in your state,” he said.
Reacting, Mr Gaidam, who was invited as who was a special guest of honour at the event, reiterated his commitment towards prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities.
He added that those payments have been made a ‘first-line charge’ from the coffers of the state government.
According to him, every other expenditure follows the payment of salaries and pensions every month in the state.
“While many states has backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities, Yobe is one of the few states which has consistently paid salaries of staff without resort to the bailout of funds from the Federal Government.
“We have also made it a deliberate policy that all civil servants in our state start receiving payment of pensions one month after retirement.
“So far, the Committee (set up for the purpose) has cleared backlog of gratuities of civil servants who retired from State Services from 2014 to July 2017, having paid the sum of about N4.7 billion, covering 2,543 beneficiaries.
“The entitlements of the eleventh batch beneficiaries covering the period from August 2017 to December 2017 are currently being processed and will be released soon,” he said.
Speaking on the local government staff pensions, the governor said his administration was working very hard to clear them.
“We have since set-up a Special Committee to pay outstanding gratuities and pensions of verified next of kin of deceased officers and living pensioners of the Local Governments in the State.
“We have far expended the sum of over N2.746 billion covering 2,793 beneficiaries in the period between 2011 to February 2018.
“Our administration intends to settle all outstanding pensions and gratuities of the retirees and deceased officers in the Local Government service before the end of this year,” he said.