By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kogi State Chapter has raised alarm over alleged extortion of pensioners by Desk Officers in charge of pension matters in the 21 Local Government Areas of the State.
The State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Onuh Edoka who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, warned desk officers across the Local Government Areas to desist from extorting money and seeking any other form of gratification before processing documents of Local Government workers.
Edoka stated that it has come to the notice of the NLC in the State that officers saddled with the responsibility of handling the retirement documents of Local Government staff were demanding outrageous sums of money before attending to such officers.
The State NLC chairman noted that such practice was totally unacceptable, in human, fraudulent and also negates the rules and regulation of the Civil Service.
He berated the actions of those engaging in this criminal act, describing it as a great injustice, and also compounding the pains and agony of retiring officers who have been made to stay for several months upon retirement without assessing their monthly pension and gratuity.
“We have concluded plans to interface with relevant stakeholders in the Local Government administration in the State with a view to fishing out those perpetuating the dubious act against their fellow Civil Servant.
“NLC also gathered that the suspected desk officers are collecting within the range of N20, 000 to N50, 000 from this retiree.
“We have gone to enlighten some of this officers that this people are their colleagues and it is only time that has made them to retire now and they should stop exploiting them because they too will retire someday may be not as a desk officer in charge of retirement. That means they should be expecting those who will exploit them tomorrow.
“Workers in Kogi State should know what all of us are facing currently, were salaries are not too regular, were salaries are paid in a very low percentage, of about 25 percent to Teachers and even Local Government workers and you are asking your colleague to go and bring three times what he is earning as percentage salaries, it is in human.
“How do they now have justification to blame other persons in government that their policies are draconian? When even government has not given such policies and you are already implementing it against your colleague. This is total wickedness and should be condemned.
“Workers that are due for retirement as well as those whose document were being processed should stop giving money when demanded. They should report such Desk Officers and their collaborator to the NLC and other appropriate Agencies of Government for necessary action.
“In our recent emergency meeting with Labour leaders in Kogi State on this matter, we ask the Nigeria Union of Pensioners to go back and warn the unions involved and to make sure that they don’t get their members entangled into an act of being caught culpable because the union will not defend any person who begin to play an act of dog eat dog,” the NLC Chairman added.
Comrade Edoka noted that the Organized Labour in the State was doing its best to check and prevent any form of infraction against workers, advising members of the Union to compliment efforts of the Labour leaders by avoiding untoward behavior.