The pensioners, under the auspices of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) have warned that they would make every state of the federation ungovernable if state governors borrow from the pension funds.
The pensioners made this declaration at the 19th edition of Pensioners Day celebration held at the Labour House, Abuja, noting that any moment they hear that the state governors borrow from the pension funds, there would be spontaneous protest everywhere all over the federation; warning that “they should not attempt it.”
The governors, led by chairman of the National Economic Council Adhoc Committee, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, have proposed to borrow N17 trillion from the pension funds purportedly for infrastructural development.
However, in his speech at the Pensioners Day celebration, the NUP President, Abel Afolayan, said the pensioners would join forces with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and other workers to make all the state ungovernable if the governors should go ahead to borrow from the funds.
The NUP President said, “As the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba has said we are totally against the plan by the governors to borrow the pension funds. We would make every state of the federation ungovernable the moment we hear they borrow the money. There will be protest everywhere all over the federation. So, they should not attempt it.”
Afolayan pointed out that the provision of the Pension Act 2014 as amended was clear, adding that all funds were to be invested for the safety, while safety and adequate return on investment must be paramount. He questioned the possibility and the capacity of the governors to repay the money if they borrowed; adding, “when you borrow money, how do you ensure the safety of the fund, we cannot guarantee the safety of the fund.”
He lamented that the governor were supposed to be contributors to the funds but they had not and refused to key into the scheme but still want to borrow from the funds.
The NUP President said: “What you want to borrow from, you are supposed to contribute, you are supposed to remit your own part but you are failing in doing so. So, we are completely against borrowing the money. The money is for the workers, those who are workers today and will become pensioners tomorrow. We don’t want a situation whereby when these people retire, they will say there are no money to pay them.
“It is morally wrong for you to want to reap where you have not sown. Many of these state governments have not keyed into the contributory pension, only about six have keyed into it. The money of workers today and pension tomorrow which they deduct, they do not remit to Pension Fund Administrators. We cannot ensure that there would be adequate return on the investment.”