By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja – The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called for improved pension system that would make it possible for retirees to live comfortably after their working years.
Onyeama made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a send-off programme organised by the ministry for 58 members of staff and diplomats that retired in 2017.
The minister also stressed the need to make retirement and pension something that would be attractive and exciting to the retirees.
He said that retirement should be what workers would really be looking forward to as obtainable in other parts of the world.
“I always remember where I worked for about 30 years; it is an international system where a lot of people usually plan for early retirement.
“They want to be young and engage with their families again, because they have been taken away for so many years, and now they want to give them the attention they deserved.
“Also, it will allow them to do many other things they have not been able to do before, such as going on trips they have never gone before and read books they have never read.
“So, they always look forward to retirement as a wonderful opportunity instead of working,” Onyeama said.
He advised the retirees to see their retirement as opportunities to do new things in life, adding that there was always a life after retirement.
The minister noted that there might be some unexpected situations that retirees could suddenly find themselves which they did not plan for.
“So, you need to be positive in bracing up to face the future with confidence, with faith and real belief, because you never know what God has in stock for you.
“I think that is really important; so don’t entertain any fear as you go into retirement,’’ Onyeama said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Amb. Olukunle Bamgbose, described retirement as a period to enjoy the fruits one’s labour.
“It is a period where you have all the times in the world for your family and other things.
“It is also a period where you can embark on other engagements such as businesses, farming, vacation and a host of others,” he said.
Olukunle urged them to make good use of the opportunities avail them by the retirement.
Also, Amb. Naomi Chukuwumaeze, who spoke on behalf of the retirees, expressed concern about a system that made civil servants to retire before the age of 60.
Chukwumaeze described the situation where a worker would retire at the age of 55 or below, because such had worked for 35 years, as abnormal.
She said that such made workers who were still strong and vibrant to be disengaged from service at their prime time and when their talents and experiences were mostly needed.
Chukwumaeze, therefore, urged the Federal Government to review the system to accommodate workers who had served for 35 years, but had not attained aged of 60 to continue in the service. (NAN)