March 28, 2023

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NPA retirees cry out over unpaid gratuities, pension  

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The 1991 retirees of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have cried out to the Acting Managing Director of the authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to intervene in the implementation of gratuity, pension and redundancy benefits owed them 30 years ago.

Spokesman of the aggrieved retirees, Engr. Sylva Okoro, who made the appeal in Lagos on Sunday during a meeting organized by the group decried the corruption and embezzlement going on in NPA, and how the suspended Managing Director of the authority, Hadiza Bala Usman is being accused of cornering government’s money for her personal use instead of using it to pay the retirees since 1991.

Okoro expressed disappointment that for not paying the retirees as at when due, the management of NPA has put the helpless retirees into untold hardship for about 30 years.

“The suspended MD of NPA, Usman who is presently facing a panel of enquiry by the EFCC for embezzlement of funds, has put the 1991 retrenched workers into untold penury and hardship, and majority of us have died due to lack of financial resources to adequately manage our peculiar health conditions and inability to meet our family responsibilities,” he said.

Okoro said in an effort to get their money, they have written appeal letters to the suspended NPA, Managing Director, Bala Usman since December 2020, but she ignored all the appeals.

“It is unfortunate that NPA has disobeyed the Supreme court judgment, Senate directives and Minister’s letter, thereby suffering the retirees. Is it when we are dead that the money will be paid to us, then, we enjoy it in grave?” he quizzed.

Okoro claimed that while the retirees are in service, they were not found wanting for anything, either stealing or destroying NPA property to justify the punishment they are receiving.

“We were obedient servants and highly dedicated to our duties to enhanced productivity to the best of our ability before we were compulsorily retrenched and served with letter of determination of appointment individually, on 10th of June 1991, without full payment of our pensions and other benefits.

“Those heads of department who said we should not to be paid our pensions, should know that there is God, none of those General Managers knows how their own day will be. We wonder why the punishment should be met on us, after working diligently for the nation for many years,” he said.