The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, has commenced verification exercise of pensioners of federal government parastatals in a bid to determine accurate pension liabilities of the government.
The exercise is taking place in major cities in the country including Kaduna and Lagos states.
In Lagos, about 2,000 pensioners are expected to be captured in the 5-day exercise which commenced Monday at NUT pavilion, Alausa Ikeja.
Parastatals currently being verified are retirees of the New Nigerian Newspapers, Nigeria Re-Insurance Corporation, Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA (Civilians) and NICON insurance.
Desperate pensioners mostly aged men and women defied the early morning rain to besiege the verification centre at about 6 am.
Some of the pensioners who spoke to our correspondent said they travelled far from places like, Port Harcourt Rivers state, Umuahia in Abia state and some from Cross River state. They said they arrived Lagos Sunday, October 1st, without observing the independence as PTAD announced that it will not observe the public holidays.
However, to help alleviate their suffering, the agency provided wheelchairs and other mobility aids for physically challenged pensioners and arranged for refreshment for all participating persons.
It will be recalled that the previous exercise which lasted for two weeks and ended on September 29, in Lagos captured about 21,000 pensioners in the state.
The executive secretary of the agency Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor who monitored the exercise at five centers designated for the program expressed satisfaction at the turnout of pensioners.
Ikeazor explained that the outcome of the exercise will help determine actual pension liability of government and ensure all outstanding arrears are settled.
She disclosed that currently government pays about N7.5 billion in monthly pension to its retirees but said the ongoing exercise which will be done across the country will help put to rest all forms of challenges including putting in the proper perspective correct pensions profile of government as well as bring conformity in the payment system.
The executive secretary regretted pains and suffering pensioners experienced in the past due to inadequate capturing of their data leading to delayed payments as well as other irregularities associated with lack of documentation.
She recalled that in 2016, about 15,000 pensioners were discovered not to have Biometric Verification Number, BVN, a situation that caused the delay in payment.
She assured pensioners that their plight will be over at the conclusion of the exercise.
Ikeazor commended the Lagos State government for its cooperation and support by providing ambulance services as well as health officials to attend to emergency cases.