By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – The federal government earlier in the week commenced the biometric registration of senior civil servants due for retirement next year. The exercise which is being handled by the National Pension Commission was however not without its fair share of challenges ranging from technology failure to poor crowd control.
At the National Women Development Centre, Abuja venue of the registration in the Federal Capital Territory, civil servants were seen discussing in hush tones when our reporter visited the centre yesterday. Although, none of the registration officers was willing to talk to the press citing ‘non-authorization,’ it was a different ball game for the civil servants, some of whom bared it all in a chat with this our reporter.
Theresa Omoyeni (Mrs) of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing while commending government for the timely commencement of the exercise noted that the challenges first encountered when the exercise began on Monday was the huge crowd that trooped out for the exercise, adding that two days later, the registration officers had done enough to capture almost everybody.
According to her, “Nigerians must learn to be patient. My brother (referring to this reporter), if you were here on Monday, you would have been frustrated by the huge number of people. I mean, why is it that government can’t arrange this properly so that it can be done quarterly rather asking all those due for retirement to converge in one place like this?” she asked, stressing however that after the initial fears, “everyone is now happy because almost all of us have been registered and our faces captured.”
Unlike Mrs. Omoniyi, one of the would-be-retirees who identified herself simply as Mrs. Nwaka blamed what she termed “poor organization and planning” adding that until two days ago (Thursday and Friday); the registration officers were very ‘rude and unruling.’
“They were very unruling and in some cases, rude. I saw some elders, very old people in an attempt to join a queue, fell by the way side and I must tell you, that the sight wasn’t a good one,” she recalled. According to her, the registration hall was without an air conditioning system and electric fans which further made the place quite inhabitable.
For Mr. Yos Nylon Yabal who would be retiring after a meritorious service with the Federal Ministry of Finance; government did its best given the number of retirees due for the exercise.
“I cannot complain because things were very easy for me. They helped me maybe because I am an old man (prolong laughter) when I came here yesterday,” he said.
The major worry on the part of the outgoing workers however is the fear of joining the ranks of oldies that wait years upon years for their entitlements to be paid by government. This much was expressed by Mrs. Omoniyi who had this to say: “I think about it every day but I hope we will be lucky to avoid that treatment this time around.”
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