By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja – The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Tuesday disclosed that 6,000 pensioners would be verified at the FCT center of the on-going final verification of civil service pensioners in the North Central Zone.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this after inspecting the verification process in the Abuja centres.
She described the exercise, which is the final for civil service pensioners, as seamless, adding that pensioners had turned up with high expectations.
She, however, said PTAD would meet their expectations by verifying them and ensuring they got their right payment when due.
The PTAD boss said “In the FCT, we are expecting 6,000 pensioners to be verified, but you see some may still come from other states who are not resident here, but we will still go ahead and verify them.
“This is the first time PTAD is carrying out verification for civil service pensioners in the FCT.
“This will be last and final verification, bearing in mind that we inherited payroll and data from the office of the Head of Civil Service.
“ We started verification of civil service pensioners in 2015, with the six geo-political zones, North Central is the last zone, so, FCT, Nasarawa and Niger states are the final we are doing.
“With this, we have concluded verification for civil service pensioners.“
She said the essence of the verification was for PTAD to develop credible data base and eradicate the matters on pensioners embarking on incessant verification.
Ikeazor said PTAD was verifying maximum of 500 pensioners daily in the FCT centers.
“Every day in each centre, we can handle 500 pensioners in one day; if you notice our processes, there is a lot of data entry.
“When the staff are overworked and overwhelmed, they tend to make mistakes.
“And we can’t afford to make mistake, that is why we have three centres; one in Maitama, one in Gwarimpa and here in area 11.
“ We have made buses available for pensioners to choose any centre of their choice; we can’t take more than 500 for each day so that the data we are computing is accurate.“
On findings from the recent verification, she said “some of my findings is that there are few pensioners who were taken off the payroll.
“ With the exercise, genuine pensioners are now being restored on the payroll; we also discovered pensioners who were taken off the payroll due to lack of BVN on their account in 2016.
“ They are now presenting their BVN and we are placing them back on the payroll.“
She also said that pensioners who had been verified and payrolled would receive their December payment before 25, adding that those who just got verified would have to wait in three months time to receive their payment.
“Those we have just verified, who have never been on payroll, will have to wait because after the field exercise, their papers will go through computation, the auditors will have to pass them, so we are talking in another three to four months.
`Our processes, checks and balances must be put in place, verification is not automatic payment, we have to manage the expectations.“
She advised pensioners to report any case of fraud alert to the directorate, adding that PTAD had also stationed security personnel to check incidence of fraud at the verification venues.
Some of the pensioners told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were delighted to be considered for verification by PTAD.
They expressed belief that the verification would mark an end to the incessant verification experienced over the years.
Mrs Oluba Peacewill told NAN that she was retrenched in 2007 at Ministry of Interior as a cleaner on Grade Level three.
She said she was only paid 10 per cent of her gratuity and earned seven thousand naira as monthly pension, adding that her last salary before the retrenchment was N9,000.
According to her, she was expectant that her arrears of many years would be paid, giving her series of verification over the years.(NAN)