About 105 of the retirees of the Nigerian Postal Service (Nipost) have reportedly died following the inability of Nipost to pay their entitlements, setting a volley of protests by the former staff.
Olatunji Adeeyo, chairman of the National Union of Nigerian Postal Service Retirees, Osun State branch, has ascribed the recent death of their 105 members to the sufferings occasioned by the unsettled two years’ terminal benefits.
Adeeyo also informed that the retirees’ children have been driven out of schools while many of their surviving members are now living in penury while some of them are homeless.
He said the union had to attack Mrs. Agnes Okonye, Nipost’s deputy postmaster- general, Territorial Administration for her unguarded statement in the Punch newspapers of July 1, 2008, where she chided the protesting retirees for what she called their impatience in allowing the organization enough time to determine a way of assuaging their plight.
Adeeyo disclosed that the retirees while taking her up on the matter, drew her attention to a correspondence from Nipost entitled: NIP/DPMG/CS/05/VI, dated January 4, 2007 where it was agreed that all the disengaged workers would be paid their terminal benefits on their exit from service.
He further quoted the circular to have stipulated that the retirees’ retirement letter would not be given to the disserving officials until fund was ready, adding that their benefits were due for them since April 2008.
"It is inhuman and unbecoming of a mother to say that we lack patience, after three/two years of retirement without payment. Only an inhuman and wicked soul will claim not to know that 105 NIPOST retirees have lost their lives while some are seriously sick and on hospital admission without money to access drugs,’’ Adeeyo said empathically.
They asked, ‘‘for how long do we keep patience; and for how long are we going to be deceived by NIPOST management and its laxity?’’
"It is not a threat, our patience has been exhausted and the DPMG must know that if our terminal benefits are not paid, NIPOST management should expect the worst, no matter the situation and level of insult on us. Enough is enough! A stitch in time saves nine,’’ the members charged.
It would be recalled that Nigeria Communications Week in one of its editions recently reported that one hundred of the union members had died. Barely a month after, five more have died and reports indicate that there are still more, hospitalized.
The situation calls for urgent attention to alleviate the hardships faced by these retirees.