Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older People in Nigeria (COSROPIN) on Friday urged the government to improve the welfare of retirees to minimise corruption in the civil service.
Sen. Eze Ajoku, President of the coalition, made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR) in Abuja.
Ajoku said that lack of hope for quality healthcare, security and quality of life after retirement was instrumental to possible corrupt practices by civil servants, especially retiring ones.
“We, as a coalition, have realised that a good index exists between corruption and the status of retired civil servants.
“Without hope for healthcare, security and a good quality of life after retirement, retiring civil servants will do whatever is possible to provide these for them,” he said.
Ajoku, therefore, called on the government to give hope to civil servants, especially retiring civil servants for them to meet the challenges after retirement.
He expressed concern over the preparedness and equipment of civil servants aimed at erasing the mentality that “life only exists in civil service.”
Ajoku expressed optimism that life must hold opportunities for civil servants after retirement.
“The current system condemns civil servants to death with no health insurance, no take-home money after retirement for 16 months and no gratuity.
“The system abandons the civil servants after retirement unlike colleagues in the private sector or in parastatal agencies of government like NNPC or CBN,” he said.
Ajoku noted that the coalition had provided a legal framework for the rights and privileges of older people through the passage of older persons and privileges bill by the senate.
He said that the bill was aimed at enhancing the quality of life of older people in Nigeria.
Ajoku described retired civil servants as a reservoir of skill and knowledge for national productivity, adding that the coalition would not allow efforts to go to waste.
He said that it was in pursuit of improved welfare for retirees that the coalition contributed to the Development of the National Policy on Ageing approved by the federal government.
Responding, Mr Dasuki Arabi, Director General, Bureau for Public Service Reform (BPSR) promised to partner with the coalition in the actualisation of their visions.
Arabi expressed concern over the plight of older persons after retirement from active service and called for action.
“I wonder why some retirees after six or seven months or one year of retirement suffer, in spite of the earlier reforms.
“That means something is wrong somewhere, which we are doing our best to practically address,” he said.
The Director-General, who reiterated the commitment of the Bureau to an improved welfare for retirees, said that they were willing to tap into the knowledge and experience of the retirees.
“We are going to tap into your experience to ensure the success of the civil service,” he said.
Arabi explained that the Bureau was working in synergy with the Federal Ministry of Health to actualise the Basic Care Fund (BCF) for retirees and older persons.
He, however, called for respect and a friendly environment for older people as it was done elsewhere.
According to him, the elderly deserves respect by making provisions for them as well as giving them medical and transport discounts.
By Aliyu Umar Aliyu