500 Delta Steel pensioners die awaiting benefits

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA — No fewer than 500 retired staff of the Delta Steel Company Limited, DSCL, have died since 2005 while awaiting their entitlement, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP,  has said.

National President of NUP, Mr Ali Abatcha, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said over 1983 pensioners of DSCL were unilaterally laid off and later retired.

Abatcha added that the death toll does not represent their wives and children.

According to him, on June 4, 2012, the union wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan over the plight of their members and the resultant deaths, while till date, there had been no response from the President.

The union regretted that of the N11.709 billion owed the senior citizens, only 45 per cent of the amount had been paid them.

NUP in the letter copied the Joint Senate Committee on Public Establishment and States and Local Government on Pension Administration and Management, Minister of Iron and Steel, Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, and Secretary NUP Delta Steel Company Limited, noted that 55 per cent of the money was yet to be paid.

Abatcha alleged that the decision to stop pension payment to the existing pensioners and the non-placement of the disengaged staff on monthly pension was taken by the joint Managing Director of DSCL in collaboration with some BPE and government officials to the detriment of the pensioners and disengaged staff.

He described as sad, the way authorities were handling pensioners in Nigeria, saying:  “Since June 2012 that we wrote a letter to the President for intervention into the situation of DSCL pensioners, nothing had been done till date, while our members die daily.

“Another pathetic story of DSCL pensioners is that the houses sold to them by Federal Government through BPE as part payment of their entitlements we are constrained to inform you that of about 4500 units of houses that were sold to the pensioners, about 600 units were yet to be accessed by the pensioners as the houses are being occupied by illegal occupants, who have vowed not to quit the houses.

“Ironically, while this injustice to our members is going on unchallenged, our members are dying daily without enjoying the fruits of their labour. Sadly, as at today, the death toll of our members at DSCL had risen to over 500. This figure does not represent their  wives, children and dependants they lost while hopelessly waiting for payments of their benefits.”

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