The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned four labour leaders in Kwara state to Abuja, to explain the whereabouts of N1.68bn pensioners’ arrears in the state.
The invitation of the labour, it was gathered, was due to a petition forwarded to the EFCC by the pensioners, under the aegis of ‘Concerned Pensioners of Kwara State’.
Those labour leaders scheduled to appear before the Commission tomorrow, September 2, include the immediate past NLC chairman in the state, Mr. Emmanuel Ayeoribe, the current Secretary, Mr. M. K. Onagun. Others are: Alhaji Ayinde Alanumu and Chief Samuel ibidoja, Chairman and Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) respectively.
The letter, dated August 22nd, 2014, with reference number CR:3000/EFCC/ABJ/EG.2/ VOL.19/317, was signed by Mrs. Olufunke Adetayo-Ogunbode, Head, Economic Governance of the anti-graft body.
According to Adetayo-Ogunbode, the Commission wanted them to explain their roles in the case of conspiracy, abuse of office, fraudulent diversion and embezzlement of public funds preferred against them.
The Commission further requested the labour leaders to produce documents concerning the minutes of meetings and payments to the concerned 9, 030 pensioners.
They were also asked to come with documents relating to the pensioners’ 1995 parity, 1998 retirees, and payment of 150%, 30% and 142% harmonisation.
It could be recalled that the concerned pensioners had petitioned EFFC to inquire into the N1.68 billion judgment debt delivered by Court of Appeal, Ilorin on June 30, 2010
The petition received at the EFCC on July 24, 2014 was co- signed by Elder Abrahim Aransiola, Comrade Philip Oloruntola and Com Ayobamidele Ajibola, Ag Chairman, Vice chairman and Secretary respectively.
A copy of the petition was also sent to the Presidency, Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, as well as National Assembly, Abuja.
The pensioners were worried that since the judgment was delivered, the whereabouts of the judgment sum has remained unknown and therefore wanted the EFCC to inquire into the banks where the judgment sum was deposited.
They also prayed the Commission to find out if government had spent the money and on what project.
They pleaded with EFCC to uncover whether the project on which the money was assumedly spent upon was covered by any budgetary allocation.
“We have waited for more than a year; we have not received anything from the Commission and unfortunately, the poor pensioners die in droves”, they lamented.
According to them, they have heard people saying that the pensioners were wasting their time as the petition would not yield any result.
They, therefore, appealed to the Commission to help them retrieve the N1. 68 billion meant for their pension in other for them to reap the fruit of their labour.
They lamented that many of the 9, 030 pensioners were in their old age, adding that many have died, while majority of them were on sick bed.
Our correspondent in Ilorin reports that, in the series of their struggle to have the said arrears paid, the Concerned Pensioners in Kwara have called on the state government to pay the N1.68 billion into the bank account of their lawyer, Barrister Deji Gbadeyan.
The pensioners made the call in a communiqué, issued at the end of one of their emergency meetings, which held in Ilorin. The communiqué was jointly signed by Elder Tunji Aransiola, Acting Chairman, Comrade Philip Oloruntola, Vice Chairman and Comrade Ayobamidele Ajibola, Secretary.
In the communiqué, they urged the state government to obey and implement the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on June 30, 2010.
The pensioners advised the state government not to pay the N1.68bn into their individuals’ pension accounts.
The communiqué stressed that the money should be paid into the lawyer’s account or that of judiciary pending determination of appeal instituted by the government at the Supreme Court.
“There must be a re-screening of the accredited 9,030 pensioners in the state conducted on April 17, 2008”, the communiqué added.
It stated further that the re-screening was necessary to ensure that nobody was short-changed in the process. It advised the state government not to politicize the payment of the pension arrears in any form.