The Director of Career Development and Counselling Center, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ifeanyi Onyeonoru, has lamented the poor condition of civil servants after retirement, adding that some had turned to beggars on the streets.
He said in spite of the new pensions system introduced by the Federal Government to mitigate the challenges of the old scheme, retirees were not enjoying reasonable relief after retirement.
Speaking in Ibadan at the pre-retirement seminar for prospective retirees of the institution, with the theme, ‘Living Good and Well after Retirement’, Onyeonoru said, “The degrading symbolism that our senior citizens now represent creates pre-retirement anxiety for their colleagues who are still in service and this constitutes a threat to their mental health and physical wellbeing.”
He explained that since about the mid-1980s, things had gone sour as retirees were no longer assured of sustenance of livelihood on retirement, adding that they were often seen in the society in deplorable mental and socio-economic conditions.
Onyeonoru said, “Human resources are the most valuable assets of any organization. Having spent most of their productive life in the organization they should be entitled to a happy life in the post-work period as a result of good retirement package.
“Indeed, pensions and gratuity should be seen as part of working life, an appreciation handshake for employees’ contributions to the workplace and society at large.
“The dilemma here is that civil servants are by law not permitted to engage in any other enterprise apart from farming. Hence, the retirement plans of employees are not likely to relate with any serious enterprise. Yet the retirement package which serves as compensation for working life turns out to be demeaning.
“In a bid to cope with this situation some employees resort to an anomic practice of falsification of their official age records just to extend their stay on the job.”
Onyeonoru, therefore, urged them to start planning for their retirement time by learning a new skill and engage in things they love doing.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, whose message was delivered by Dean of Students, Adekeye Abiona, said the seminar was crucial to prevent retirees from sudden shock or depression as a result of retirement.
He said the purpose of the event was to acquaint retirees with adequate information on living a healthy, worthy post-work life and be happy.
In his presentation on ‘Viable Investment Opportunities for Retirees’, Abimbola Yeshua said there were a lot of opportunities in the informal sector and agribusiness that retirees could explore to live a happy life in retirement.