The second National Delegates Conference of the Federal Civil Service Pensioners Branch (FCSPB) which was to culminate in election of the new executive officers ended on Friday without desired results.
The conference which began at the Labour House, Abuja, on Thursday with the union’s National Executive Committee’s meeting, ended on Friday with indefinite postponement of the scheduled election.
The development followed inability of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, the umbrella body of all registered pensioners’ unions in the country to conduct the election and subsequently swear in the newly elected officers according to the NUP Constitution.
The NUP had allegedly taken the action following the ruling of the National Industrial Court, barring it from not only dissolving the FCSPB’s executive before the election but also arbitrarily interfering in the affairs of FCSPB.
It was gathered that having received information that NUP had a surreptitious plan to dissolve the FCSPB’s exco ahead of the election,the latter approached the court and obtained injunction stopping it.
And infuriated at the turn of events,the NUP boycotted the election which it was not only to conduct but also inaugurate its winners.
The delegates from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja who had converged on the venue for the exercise billed to commence at 10 am, expressed visible disappointment when FCSPB’s National Chairman,Comrade Omezi Sunday,informed them around 2:45pm that the election had been put on hold.
Comrade Omezi told the delegated that he had received communication from NUP informing him of their decision to stay away from the exercise, following the court’s ruling that barred NUP from interfering in FCSPB’s activities.
He described NUP’s action as a misinterpretation of the ruling of the court, saying there were clear distinction between NUP action and the ruling of the court.
According to him, the order of the court only stopped NUP from illegally dissolving the leadership of FCSPB and did not stop the former from conducting the election and inaugurating the new leadership, saying such were NUP’s constitutional responsibilities.
Speaking to reporters on the development, Comrade Omezi Sunday, said: “We had prepared for this election. We invited stakeholders in the pension industry for this election. We did our National Executive Council Meeting yesterday which was successful and today, we are supposed to have started our National Executive Conference to elect new officers but unfortunately, there is an issue between Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, our mother union and Federal Civil Service Pensioners Branch, which has been lingering since 2020.”
He spoke further: “Although the Federal Ministry of Labour is conciliating on the issue which has been lingering. Memorandum of understanding has been signed between both parties but regrettably, no achievements have been made till now, because the NUP has not implemented any.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment later told us that there is nothing they can do as a ministry except we approach court of law. This,we did.
“So at the end of the day,the court had to intervene and based on the intervention, the NUP is now saying that they cannot conduct the election for us today. And based on this development, the delegates have postponed the election to another day.”
According to him: “The court said they should not dissolve us as they did in April,2001.The court said they should not interfere in our operations until the determination of the matter before the court. And because of that court order,
the NUP said they are not coming. The reason they gave was because of that court order.”
“When we approached the Federal Ministry of Labour, our regulatory body on this issue which is bothering on money they are owing us, the Minister of Labour said they should pay us our money but the NUP disrespected the minister’s directive.
He accused the NUP of owning his organisation 55 per cent of the N171 million of its statutory allocation.
“The amount they (NUP) are owing us is N171 million, they supposed to pay us 55 percent from that but they have failed to do so.
“They refused to pay us our April, May and June money in 2021, after they signed a memoranda of understanding with the Ministry of Labour that they would pay us. This year again, they did not pay us April, May and June which we are requesting.
“They are now saying that some people wrote petition against us. We are telling them that this is our statutory allocation and they should pay us our money. They refused and instead gave us for only one month, saying we should used the money to conduct our election,” he said.
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