The National Industrial Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed a suit instituted against the Federal Government by a group of retirees challenging alleged discrimination in implementing pension policy in the country.
The court held that the pensioners failed to establish that the Federal Government shortchanged them in the payment of their pension emoluments.
In a judgment, Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae held that the retirees did not rebut the claims of the Federal Government that pensions had been increased three times during the period the plaintiffs alleged upward review of their pensions and disparity in the payment of old and new contributory system.
Due to their failure to effectively puncture the Federal Government’s claims, the Judge said that the plaintiffs were not entitled to the requests made before the court against the Federal Government.
The retirees had specifically asked the court to compel the Federal Government to review their pensions upward in line with the provisions of Section 173 of the 1999 Constitution.
In the suit marked NICN/ABJ/CS/1310/2022, the retirees had asked the court to determine the legality and applicability of Section 173 of the 1999 Constitution, Pension Acts of 2004 and 2014 and circulars issued by the Federal Government agencies relating to pension implementations.
The six defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Director General, National Pension Commission and Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
Justice Obaseki-Osaghae refused to grant the order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from further denying the plaintiffs and other retired officers of the Contributory Pension Scheme who had put into service the minimum years for gratuity before the effect of the 2014 Pension Act their earned entitlements.
The Judge also refused to grant the retirees order of mandamus to compel the defendants to compute all their financial entitlements and those of officers on Contributory Pension to Pensions and gratuity to put an end to the continuous injury being inflicted on them by the refusal to review their pension upward.