Participants assembled at a town hall session in Enugu are advocating for an intensified effort to combat pension fund mismanagement.
With support from the MacArthur Foundation, the NGO Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) played a pivotal role in organizing the event, themed “Accountability issues in the payment of local government pensioners in Enugu State.”
Those in attendance were selected from a diverse pool, encompassing media professionals, members of civil society organizations, individuals with disabilities (PWDs), community-based groups, faith-based institutions, pensioners’ associations, and labor union leaders.
Among those present were Mr. Aka Eze Aka, the Enugu State Commissioner for Information, alongside representatives from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Following the engagement, a formal statement was issued wherein the participants advocated for the active involvement of all stakeholders in expediting the release of pensioners’ benefits and overdue payments.
The communique bore the signature of Zubair Abdurrauf Idris, who holds the position of Executive Director and Project Manager at WAMAC.
It was observed that the primary obstacles in pension administration give rise to transactional corruption at all tiers, largely due to the absence of transparent processes and accountability mechanisms.
According to the communique: ‘The Town Hall Meeting identified challenges encountered by pensioners in other parastatals and urged the local government Chairmen to immediately start remittance to Local government pension board for prompt payment of pensioners and arrears.’
‘Participants advocate for continued enforcement of anti-corruption agencies, EFCC and ICPC mandates on preventive measures and enforcement to fight the menace.’
‘The meeting commends the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for their efforts and advocacy in the fight against corruption and urged governments to pay entitlements of pensioners as at when due.’
‘Participants frown at social crimes and electronic crimes, such as cyber-crimes, trafficking of persons and other new faces of social corruption that are retrogressive to development. Also, participants call for social inclusion for PWDs and implementation of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI)’
‘Participants commend the Enugu State governments for setting up a committee of pension administration stakeholders and labour leaders to review the Pension Scheme in Enugu State with a view to adopt the Contributory Pension Scheme.’
‘The Town Hall meeting commends DREAM FM Radio, Enugu, and other media organisations; Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) and McArthur Foundation for their efforts in the fight against corruption.’