By Jon Egie
An illegal arrangement put in place by the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta state chapter, to allegedly extort the sum of four million naira (N4,000,000) from the take home of each retiree in the state has been rejected by the Association of Contributory Retirees (ACR).
The decision to reject the arrangement was contained in a communique issued at the end of an emergency general meeting of ACR held in Ozoro, Isoko North Delta state.
The communique which was signed by the chairperson and secretary, Chief Mrs. Ejieh Helen Chionye and Prince Comrade Gordons Etuwede respectively, called on ALGON Delta state to return the N40billion purported to have been borrowed to pay part of the N54billion backlog of gratuities of retirees if ALGON insists on going ahead with the plan of extorting four million naira from each retiree’s take home pay.
They also called on Delta state governor, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori who they believe is not aware of the plot because no responsible government can support such evil plot, to intervene and call ALGON to order and stop the evil venture the local government council chairmen have allegedly embarked upon.
ACR said nothing will fall short of their full take home, having already been aware of the existing financial records template of each retiree in the system and hence, once more, called on Governor Sheriff Oborevwori to ensure that the Bureau of Local Government should continue payment of retirees as usual since ALGON can no longer be trusted.
Consequently, ACR asked ALGON to without further delay, remit 5.9 billion naira unremitted deductions from 2015 to 2017, to the Bureau of Local Government to enable the Bureau pay more retirees.
In the communique titled: ” A presumed gang up to delay and or defraud retirees of their pension benefits”, ACR recalled that the body attended a meeting convened by ALGON at the office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, on Friday, September 1st, during which they discovered that their gratuity/pension benefits have been cut short of their expectations, showing take home sums that are very much less than what their counterparts received just a month ago.
“Whereas the office of Auditor General of the State has availed us the content of our take home, which is normal and reflexive of our expectations, a Consultant engaged by ALGON, in a bid to defraud us, faulted the existing template and came out with a new template that indicates a short fall of four million from each retiree.
“We reject that arrangement in it’s entirety because it is not only suspicious, dubious, illegal, fraudulent but also inhuman.”
ACR lamented that some of its members retired in 2016, that is seven years with their gratuities/pensions unpaid and ALGON through a hired hand is attempting to defraud them.
“When other States governments due to the economic effects of fuel subsidy removal are doing their best to put smile on the faces of their workforce and senior citizens/retirees, you are here in Delta State looking for opportunity to increase our sufferings and hardship. Remember that there is God.
“If you were in our shoes how would you feel? That some of your colleagues who received their retirement benefits just last month got home with over twelve or eleven million naira and somebody, because he is in government, calls you to say your money has been reduced to seven or eight million for no just cause, will you clap for him?
“We know that our Governor is not aware of this plot, no responsible government will support this evil venture. This Government is less than 100 days in office, are you telling us that the predecessors of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori did not know what they were doing when they paid retirees of the State their full benefits?
“From your posture, it appears that the purported forty billion naira you borrowed to pay retirees is a scam.” ACR said.
The communique was circulated to the Governor, Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Secretary to the State Government, Auditor General of the State, Head of Service, ALGON, Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Service, DSS; EFCC, NLC, NUT and NULGE.