A retiree, Mr. Gabriel Olofinlua, who suffered a stroke over unpaid 15-year pensions, has received his first payment.
Gabriel’s wife, Mrs Ayotunde Olofinlua, told our correspondent that the 75-year-old got a credit alert for his July pension after a report by The PUNCH on his plight.
She noted that representatives of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate said the 15 years arrears would be paid in due course.
PUNCH Metro had reported in May 2018 that Gabriel, who retired from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in 2003, went to Lagos and Abuja for verification exercises several times after his retirement.
He, however, got nothing for his years of labour.
The Ekiti State indigene reportedly went into depression and suffered a stroke in February 2010, as efforts by his family were futile.
His wife had said the septuagenarian underwent physiotherapy at the Gbagada General Hospital for two years after which he was discharged with some improvements in his movement and speech.
She had said after the discharge, the family continued to spend N30,000 on drugs every month to keep him stable.
She claimed that the family believed Gabriel might not recover fully until he got his pensions, adding that he often talked about it.
Ayotunde said a few days after the publication, some officials from the Lagos office of PTAD visited the family at their house at Oregun, Ikeja.
During the visit, some discrepancies were reportedly spotted in the retiree’s documentation.
A letter signed by the Director, Civil Service Pension Department, Williams Dogo, said, “We wish to refer to your complaint of non-payment of your pension benefits for 15 years published in The PUNCH Newspaper of May 9, 2018.
“Having concluded the nationwide civil service pensioners verification, the directorate has embarked on computation of pension benefits in phases for monetary payment due to pensioners who were recently verified.
“Accordingly, in the process of reviewing the documents you submitted for the verification exercise on September 18, 2017, we observed some discrepancies in the actual date of your retirement, as there was a letter from the Federal Ministry of Works, dated May 21, 2003, accepting your resignation from service with effect from 22 June, 2003, having served for 35 years.
“In addition, there was another letter from the Federal Civil Service Commission, dated July 2006, conveying your disengagement from public service in line with reforms rightsizing exercise….”
Ayotunde’s wife said after the visit, the family visited Abuja to clear the issues.
She said, “Two of their officers came to visit my husband. They said they came on the directive of the director-general. They requested information based on the issues raised in their letter and we went to Abuja. When we got to their office at Abuja, we were told that the DG was in a meeting. But a director, one Mrs Ndidi, said she had been asked to attend to us. She assured us that they would start the payment since the issues had been resolved.
“We received a credit alert for July and when we called them, they confirmed that they had started paying his pension and he had been put on the payroll. I asked for the arrears and they said as soon as they started getting more funds, they would pay for the 15 years arrears.”
The husband, Gabriel, thanked The PUNCH, saying he was awaiting payment of his August pension.
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