We Will Protest Naked – Pensioners Lament Exclusion From Minimum Wage C’ttee

Nigeria Pensioners on Thursday decried their non-inclusion in the membership of the newly constituted National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee.

The Pensioners under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP, threatened to protest naked to show Nigerians how they have gone mad from hunger.

They noted that no fewer than 1,500 of their members have passed on in recent times as a result of the hardship and high cost of living in the country.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, on Thursday, the President of NUP, Godwin Abumisi, in a prepared text he read said the Senior Citizens would embark on protest in Abuja if the Federal Government failed to include Pensioners in the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee.

“In Nigeria, the government doesn’t think about the poor people, they only think about themselves, otherwise how can a pensioner in Enugu receive as low as four hundred and fifty naira?”.

They also lamented that their members in some states especially in Enugu State collect as low as N450 monthly as pension.

Fielding questions on whether the union has suffered any casualty as a result of the hardship in the country, he said, “Let me say this, we have casualties every day. The casualties arising from the maltreatment of pensioners in Nigeria, we have now gone to 1,500. Just about last week, we travelled to Enugu to bury one of the staff. We know that he perished out of hunger. It’s in our power to distribute food to pensioners in Nigeria, we don’t have the resources.

He said, “I want to say it clearly and I want you to write it, I am going to lead Nigerian pensioners naked. I mean naked. When we are going to protest, we are going to go naked on the streets. Write down this so that the world will see it, Nigerian pensioners are going to demonstrate naked. If they like, let them arrest us on why we go naked, are you mad? And we will say, we are mad. We have reached a situation where we can now say, we are mad.”

He further said, “For records, the NUP is the only legally recognized body and voice of the entire civil and para-military pensioners in Nigeria. When the news of constituting the long-awaited Tripartite National Minimum Wage Review Committee was announced by the Federal Government, it was applauded by the NUP, with the high hope that they would be represented in such a high-powered committee to offer their voice to the negotiation as well as make a case for their members, bearing in mind that pensioners are workers in retirement who go to the same market for their daily needs.

”Moreso, we feel that the pensioners’ union should be carried along during negotiations on the matters that bother their members. Unfortunately and regrettably too, our hope of being represented in the Committee was dashed as the name of NUP was visibly omitted from the membership list.