Over 300 pensioners, who came for the second Interactive Stakeholders Forum, organised by the Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), for federal pensioners in the South West Zone, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), have cried foul over the treatment meted out to them, as they were denied access into the conference hall.
Even journalists were not spared from the bad treatment by the organisers, as The Guardian staff was visibly rough-handled and prevented from entering the hall.
The event, which held in Lagos, was meant to identify and tackle critical issues, as they affect pension administration in Nigeria under the DBS, had attracted many stakeholders in the pensions industry from different states in the South West Zone of Nigeria.
Unfortunately, many pensioners, who travelled from far and wide to attend the event, with hopes of getting solutions to their problems, got disappointed, as they were rejected and left loitering at the venue of the event.
According to an announcement by PTAD, also published in some of the dailies, pensioners, who wished to be part of the forum, were advised to register online via firstname.lastname@example.org, or to visit their Lagos office or to call 09072313176 and 07060443118.
However, lamenting his ordeal in the hands of PTAD, Comrade Oladigboye G.O., who claimed to be the Secretary, Electricity Sector Pensioners, Ibadan Chapter, when sighted sitting helplessly at a corner outside the venue, told The Guardian that he had registered online as directed, but was still denied access into the conference hall.
He said: “I came from Oyo State, lodged in a hotel close to the venue, and I came here before 8.am, only for them to say that my registration was not okay with them, and that I should go home, just like that!
“I have been to their office severally for my issues to be resolved, and nothing was done. They just came here to do a jamboree. The people outside are almost more than those inside.
“The treatment they gave to pensioners is most unfair. So many people came from outside Lagos, and yet it did not make any difference to them.”
Also, Oluwoye Olamide, who claimed he retired from the Office of Head of Service, Establishment Pensioners, said he registered through one of the phone numbers provided by PTAD.
“I was refused access to the hall on the excuse that the hall was already full after I registered through one of the phone numbers provided, but they already knew the capacity of the hall and the number of people they were expecting.
“Most of the complaints affecting pension administration and management in Nigeria is as a result of the ignorance of PTAD officers. Most of them don’t know anything about public sector pension management.”
Another visibly angry pensioner, who simply identified himself as the Chairman, the University of Ibadan Pension Union, said he was not allowed to enter the conference hall despite coming from a far distance.
Efforts by The Guardian to reach PTAD to know the reason for the large number of pensioners outside the conference hall, were futile, as security agents hired by the organisers violently denied The Guardian access into the hall.
The security agents also stooped The Guardian from speaking to more pensioners within the premises, as was directed by PTAD.