By Philip Yatai
Kaduna, April 29, 2021 It was tale of woe in Kaduna on Thursday as retired textile industry worker, Gideon Shenpam, narrated the ordeal of living on N9,000 monthly pensions.
Shenpam, 62, and father of four children, told newsmen that life had been miserable since his statutory retirement in 2018.
“I tried to get a job to augment my N9,000 monthly pensions without success.
“I need assistance to take care of my four children two of whom are unemployed graduates, while the two others are still in school.
“One of my unemployed graduate children studied Mechanical Engineering, while the other studied Business Administration and Management,’’ the senior citizen said.
He said he got about N300,000 as severance package and that at that time he had not completed his personal building.
“I used N260,000 of the severance package to pay two years advance rent at N130,000 per year and now my landlord is already threatening to throw me out as another rent is due.
“My own building is far from being completed and I am not able to pay another rent since my pension is not even enough to feed my family,’’ he lamented.
Shenpam was a one-time Secretary of the Textile Garment and Tailoring Senior Staff Association of Nigeria in one of its zones.
He called on the Federal and Kaduna State governments to do something about his predicament and that of other senior citizens in a similar situation.
He said the Federal Government should enact a law making the National Minimum Wage, currently fixed at N30,000, the barest minimum pension payable to retirees.
“We are living below survival line. Government must come to our aid or most senior citizens will die of starvation,’’ he stressed.
The senior citizen, who worked at a blanket manufacturing company in Kaduna, said he might die of frustration if nothing was done to ease his suffering.
“I want President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians to know that the life of a retired worker is a life of pity and misery.
“This is because of systems failures, galloping prices and the inability of the current pension scheme to make life comfortable for retirees.
“Governments at all levels are supposed to take care of us adequately after working so hard and also after contributing immensely to the development of the nation’s economy,” he said.