​I can’t survive on N9,000 monthly pension, textile retiree cries out

Mr Gideon Shenpam, a textile retiree on Thursday cries out for help, saying he cannot survive on N9,000 monthly pension.
Shenpam, 62 and a father of four, told newsmen in Kaduna, that he has been living a life of misery since retirement in 2018.

The retired senior citizen from Chellco Industries Ltd., a blanket manufacturing company in Kaduna, said that he may die of frustration if nothing was done to ease his suffering.

“I want President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians to know that the life of a retired textiles worker is a life of pity and misery.

“This is because of systems failures and the inability of the current pension scheme to make life comfortable for retirees.

“The so-called pension scheme is paying us just N9,000 monthly as pension, barely enough to meet our food needs. 

“Ironically, governments at all levels are supposed to adequately take care of us, haven worked so hard and contributed immensely to the development of the nation’s economy,” he said.

He said that the federal and state governments had in different fora made commitments to care for, honour and respect senior citizens, “but here I am struggling to survive on N9,000 a month”. 

He pointed out that his situation was made worse following the current harsh economic condition, which he said he said was riding on a horse back, with the galloping price of food items.

He said that the prices of food items in the market were doubling or tripling by the day, stressing that N9,000 cannot feed his family for a week. 

Shenpam, a one-time Zonal Secretary of the Textile Garment and Tailoring Senior Staff Association, called on the government to do something about his predicament and that of other senior citizens in a similar situation. 

He disclosed that his retirement benefit was about N300,000, adding that he could not finish the house he was building because the money was too small, and the project had to stop at linter level.

“I used part of the money to pay rent at N130,000 a year but for two years now I could not pay because my pension was barely enough to provide food for my family.

“As I am talking to you, my landlord is threatening to throw me out for not settling my rent for two years and I do not know how I am going to raise the rent when my income is just N9,000 in a month.

“I tried looking for a job to augment my pension without success. I need assistance to take care of my four children two of which are still in school. 

“Two have graduated but still without a job. One read mechanical engineering and the other read business administration and management,” the senior citizen said. 

He called on the federal government to review the pension of textile retirees upward to at least N30,000 in line with minimum wage.

This, according to him, will improve pensioners’ living conditions and prevent them from dying of hunger and frustration. 

“We are living below the survival line. Government must come to our aid or most senior citizens will die of starvation,” he said.

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