….Beckons On Obiano Over Alleged Union’s Lost Debt of N56M to Past Govt
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Anambra State Wing, Comrade Ifeanyi Ofodile, has beckoned on the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano over the alleged nonpayment of fifty six million naira accumulated debt owed to the Union by the state government.
Comrade Ofodile who made the appeal while presenting a cheque of ten million naira to ENDWELL’s beneficiaries, said they were owed by former governor Peter Obi’s administration, noting that their offence was that NUT Anambra State, as a body, joined the industrial action embarked upon by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the year 2012.
‘Immediately we came back from the strike, we were told to wait, even though, former Governor Peter Obi in one of our meetings with him said that he has approved the payment. They never did. Nobody paid us a dime. We have been pushing and begging for the release of this money since 2012. We need this arrears paid to us to enable us continue with what we are doing here.
‘Of course, we know that government is continuum. This is exactly the reason we are calling on our ever listening and caring governor to come to our aid. From the money we are expected to remit certain amount to the NUT national body, pay some to NLC, remove that of the retirees (ENDWELL’s Benefits) and then use the remaining one for the day-day running of the Secretariat.
‘Gov. Willie Obiano has done similar thing for other bodies and establishments, we want him to remember us this time. He did it for ABS, National Light and Water Board. Governor Obiano should please help us’, Ofodile pleaded.
Comrade Ofodile explained that ENDWELL was an endowment welfare package for retired teachers of Anambra State intended to provide a leverage from active service to retirement status before the beneficiaries would be paid their gratuity and pension.
He said the contributory scheme was instituted in 1989 with an intial deduction of N24 per annum and reviewed upward to 100 in the year 1993, noting that it was further pegged at 300 from 2004 till date.
The state NUT boss said that the current beneficiaries were 2010-2015 batch, saying that each of the living retirees would receive twelve thousand while the families of the deceased retirees would ten thousand naira each.
‘A subscriber who started contributions to the scheme in 1989, without a break in service, paid N24 for four years (N96); then N100 for eleven years (N1,100); and N300 for fourteen years (N4,200), making a total contribution of the sum of N5,396 as against the current pay back of N12,000 and 10,000, for the living and deceased beneficiaries respectively.
Speaking on the way forward, the sub-committee chairman ( ENDWELL), Comrade Nworah Celestine Chukwudi said the status quo informed the decision of the present state NUT wing’s standing committee led by Comrade Ifeanyi Ofodile, on April, 2018 to nominate a twenty man sub-committee with him as the chairma and Mrs Nebolisa Ifeoma as the secretary.
He said that the sub-committee mandate was to deliberate, looked into the scheme and determined the factors militating against the smooth operation and service delivery of the scheme with regards to challenges that constrained the payment of entitlements to prospective beneficiaries on regular basis.
Nworah said the sub-committee was also expected to proffer advice and make recommendations that would ensure that the scheme lived up to expectations and remained more relevant, efficient and functional.
He stated that the resolutions and recommendations the committee arrived at were on the basis of its findings, noting that they made cases that payment of beneficiaries should be made on the basis of available fund and that there was need to retain the amount paid to beneficiaries, N12,000 and 10,000 for the living and dead beneficiaries respectively.
He said there equally the need to recover the alleged union’s lost debt of N56 million to the past government, noting that there should be restrictions on belated applications for benefits particularly be secondary school sector, long after leaving the service.
‘That there should be formal suspension of the current by-laws of the scheme which have been made obsolete by inflation for an update, including “entertainments”. That there exist the need to check-mate the alleged sharp practices of evading deduction and later collecting full payment.
‘That re-capitalization of the scheme is paramount through a state delegate conference. That there is need to lodge the accrued pool of fund in a fixed deposit to generate interest with which to carter for more beneficiaries. That paying officials should be punctual to the venue and that payments should commence at the end of the state’s chairman’s address, to enable beneficiaries cash their checks or go home early enough,’ Nworah who is the deputy state chairman, NUT concluded.