Railway pensioners call for intervention by Buhari, EFCC

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) pensioners have called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to intervene urgently and find out why the NRC management would have refused to pay their 3,637 trillion naira. pensions and entitlements.

Pensioners who are members of the Nigeria Pensioners Union (NUP) also claimed that the money intended for the payment of pensions and entitlements had not been paid by the company.

The allegation was contained in a petition addressed to the EFCC Area Manager in Ikoyi, Lagos, entitled: “Fraudulent conversion of the sum of N3,637,483.00”, being a pension fund for all pensioners of railways which retired in September 2005.

The petition was signed by Oluwaseyi Sijuwade, Felix Njoku and six others.

The pensioners, through their lawyers, said: “On November 25, 2005, the Federal Ministry of Transport ordered the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, in the person of Alhaji AA Abubakar, to pay our customers. It was communicated on November 25, 2005. Via a ref. No. T00062/S. 163/ Vol. IV/864.

“The above monies were for” severance pay for recently disengaged NRC staff. Payment of said money should have started on December 12, 2005. Our clients wrote demand letters to the General Manager demanding payment of the money but there was no response.

“On March 22, 2021, another letter was written to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, but there was no response. It was after the aforementioned frustrations that my clients engaged our services in which a letter “as written and addressed to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railways Corporation, which was acknowledged.

“A response to our letter dated July 23, 2021 has been communicated to us, which letter was dated August 23, 2021; where they requested the following: 1. Names of retired pensioners. 2. Year of retirement. 3. NRC department from which they retired. 4. Rank, level and step.

“All the requested information was communicated to them by our letter of September 14, 2021. It is however painful that after the receipts of our last letter, nothing has been heard from them. It is obvious that the money in question was hijacked by the aforementioned names.

“It is sad that some people seem too big, even bigger than the federal government who released these funds and also ordered that the same amount be paid to our customers. We humbly pray to you Sir, that our clients have no other hope than this commission. Their hopes are pinned on you, sir, to recover those funds and pay our clients immediately and prosecute the culprits for heinous and wicked deeds.

Dolores W. Simon