Federal Government pensioners undergoing verification in Bauchi could not hide their excitement when their handsets alerted them to signify payment of their six-month pension arrears.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the screening is being conducted by the Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate for pensioners of Federal Government parastatal in the North East.
Some of the pensioners told NAN at the Bauchi centre that although they had been assured of the payment of their arrears, they least expected it now.
They said when they saw the payment alert yesterday, their joy knew no bounds.
They lauded the Federal Government for the payment of the arrears, describing it as a timely gesture, least expected the time it came.
One of them, Mr Magaji Umar from Gombe, said that the present administration had come to their rescue this month.
“PTAD and Federal Government are doing well for pensioners; we were supposed to be paid some of our arrears before now, but PTAD told us that it will pay us in August.
“To our greatest surprise, yesterday, Aug. 7, we started seeing our six months areas alerts; we are grateful to them,’’ he said.
Also, the Chairman, Pensioners of Federal Polytechnics, Bauchi, Mr Yusuf Adamu, said that when they heard of the verification, they prayed that money would come after it.
“When you call pensioners to come out for such exercise and there is no money after it, we begin to fall sick and some even die.
“So, when the payment alert sounded yesterday, the mood at the screening venue changed; the excitement was palpable; those who looked sick and worn-out suddenly became re-freshed,” he said.
Adamu lauded the government for treating pensioners well by settling their benefits on time.
In their separate contributions, Mr Zahas Kelake and Zall Zaifan, pensioners from Gombe state, called on PTAD to always consider those coming from other states first, to relieve them of the burden of logistics and other challenges.
Also speaking, Hajiya Aisha Mohammed from Bauchi, said that they understood the purpose of the exercise, which she said was paramount to ensure that all those enrolled on PTAD payroll,were genuine.
She commended PTAD for making the exercise easy for the physically challenged and sick.
“We were given food, water, seats and tent to protect us from sun; the only challenge is that the exercise is taking place in the rainy season,” she said.
Mr Kabiru Yusuf, PTAD Team Leader in Bauchi, said that the center would verify 1, 962 pensioners, adding that about 4,192 retirees of federal agencies and parastatals were expected to be verified in all the Centres in the North-East.