Aren’t the pensioners grave offenders of state?
It sickens to watch on screen the senior citizens of our dear country Nigeria ‘scrambling’ to collect their meager and pitiable pittance in the name of pension. In instances they are made to queue up for hours, with their ties and 3-piece suits having given way to a casual ‘Buba and Soro’, the ‘oleku’ blouses and skirts now manifesting as ‘Iro and Buba’, the once upon a sharp pair of eyes now be-spectacled. The agile pair of legs is now weak and needs a third in the name of a walking stick. The cloud over them seems grey because it’s usually a roll-call of grey and scanty air. Shouldn’t they be somewhere relaxing and probably telling tales to their grandchildren and that notwithstanding getting some money drop in their accounts? Some are even wheeled in on chairs to verify their identities before their N2,000 naira is paid them, don’t be surprised that some receive as low. A number of deaths had been recorded even on this queue of death.
But why will anybody make people as old as described go through such an ordeal?
I think, they’re ‘offenders of state’. Why will you think they’re not, I think a good number of them actually offended the state in their youth. Their number one offence is choosing to work as a civil servant as opposed to other options. Yet another of their offence is choosing to work at a time when the naira had a greater purchasing power which will later come to hunt them.
Usually the organizers wouldn’t even be able to afford a decent place for the exercise, rather they’ll be kept at the mercy of the elements. A number are stricken with glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other forms of diseases that needs prompt attention. I’m not even sure if their free health is ensured. Why are we like this? That we treat our senior citizens this way is a shame of the nation. It is unreservedly disgusting that some are even requested to provide their employment letters. What! Employment that was secured some 30 years back? Label me careless, but I don’t even know where my certificates are as we speak, how much more a 30 year old employment letter. Suffice to say that some of these oldies even had verbal appointments. Isn’t this synonymous with a comical broadcast message about town asking people to name the 3000 people Jesus fed with bread in the bible for the gift of an iPhone?
Aside seeding the youthful parts of their lives to national service, aren’t they even the kind of people that should be on some sort of social welfare package from a concerned, conscientious and caring government? The law of the land stipulates that pensions be upwardly reviewed every 5 years, but sometimes in a decade there won’t be a review, why? And to think that some evil possessed Governors sit on these monies to yield ungodly interests for them is mind boggling. And you’ll be with your own family enjoying the deprivation of the old and think your tomb will be lined with roses?
While they endured a temporary ‘hunger’ by working for their tomorrow, someone else sat on a pension commission and ate up the future of a people, he ate the ‘yam’ they kept for their tomorrow to the tune of billions of naira, may the faithfulness of God bring him to justice!
How will anyone be proud to be a career civil servant anyway and why won’t those who do so ‘provide’ for their tomorrow by stealing? They even go ahead stealing to provide for their children children. No wonder there are those referred to as super rich civil servants and shockingly, most of them go scot-free making the hard and conscientious retirees look like a fool for not having taken care of their future, albeit, by stealing.
The thieving rich end up in the church and mosque front rows, they ‘earn’ chieftaincy titles, mortals and royalties bow before them and ‘we’ applaud them at the city centres while the real heroes end up with demeaning and surreptitiously abusive sobriquets such as ‘Baba Teacher’, ‘ Old Soldier’, “Akowe Court’ etc. Nigeria seem a big ball of absurdity in our reward system. You opine it’s changing? I wish it does.
I think the government at all levels should endeavor to make their verification exercise a one-off thing. Why should they go for verification now and then? And once this is done, there should be a more practicable death certification, such that any dead among them will be reported and taken off the pension list.
It’s about time we honoured and dignified our statesmen, it is time we dignified our senior citizens, and they need all the care they can get. I think Nigeria needs to listen and take heed, that her days may be long.