No fewer than 4,000 non-existing pensioners have been uncovered out of the 20,000 police pensioners inherited by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
Executive Secretary of PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this yesterday in Benin City, at the directorate’s ongoing pensioners’ verification and biometric data capturing for officers who retired from the Federal Government agencies and parastatals in Edo and Delta states. She assured that good time awaits pensioners once the verification is finalised as they would no longer be made to pass through the rigours of physical presence for verification, adding that the directorate was planning to decentralise its operations across the states instead of pensioners going to Abuja for verification of their status.
“When we took on police pension, we had over 20,000 pensioners on our pay roll. By the time we concluded the verification, we got 16,000 pensioners and that is a lot of savings for government and the genuine pensioners are now being paid.
“The same goes for civil service pensions; by the time we concluded the verification, we had a lot of savings for government because those who were irregularly put on that pay roll by the last maladministration have been taken off and the genuine pensioners who were dropped, were replaced so it is the same exercise we are doing now.
“PTAD has four pension departments it inherited when it was set up – the police pension, the civil service pension, the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Service and the parastatals pensions. What we are doing now is the parastatals verification, which comprises over 260 government agencies.
“This verification will be the last verification that will be conducted by PTAD because what we are doing is to have a credible secured database. We will not bring our pensioners out again for verification once we conclude this. We have concluded police pension verification. Everyone here is on PTAD payroll so they will be verified and their pensions will continue and all those who have issues will be addressed. We do it state by state.
“We are out in the field for two weeks and after the field verification, we have state offices, we have an office here in Benin where they can go back and get their verification done. Lagos office is set up also and we are trying to decentralize so that our pensioners don’t suffer and come all the way to Abuja for verification. In the comfort of their states, they will be verified,” the Executive Secretary said.
Commenting on the verification, Mr. Albert Umoru, a pensioner from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, said the exercise was not as good as expected and that bringing everybody together to a particular venue was boring.