In a sweeping financial crisis impacting 21 states across the nation, a collective debt of a staggering N790 billion remains unpaid in pensions and gratuities. This dire financial situation places numerous retirees in distress as they continue to wait for their long-overdue benefits.
Rivers State leads the way in this troubling scenario, with a daunting liability of N119 billion owed to retirees. In a close second is Benue State, grappling with an accumulated N100 billion in unpaid pensions and gratuities.
Taking the lead among geographic regions, the South-West shoulders an immense burden of N256 billion in outstanding pensions and gratuities, followed closely by the Niger Delta region with a substantial debt of N225 billion.
This substantial financial obligation has accrued over the years, spanning the tenures of successive state governments. Current administrations now face the formidable challenge of resolving these arrears and providing relief to the retirees.
It is noteworthy that only Kaduna and Kebbi states have succeeded in maintaining timely pension and gratuity payments, while approximately 13 states have yet to quantify their retirees’ exact outstanding amounts.
The depth of the financial crisis becomes even more evident as we delve into individual states’ financial struggles:
Ondo State, burdened with an overwhelming debt of over N56 billion in pensions and gratuities, encompassing both local and state government retirees.
Ekiti State, grappling with a similar challenge, holds a debt of N40 billion in outstanding gratuities and five months of pension arrears.
Ogun State inherited a N68 billion debt in gratuities for state and local government retirees, with N4 billion already paid and N64 billion remaining.
Osun State carries an N50 billion pension arrears as of 2022.
Oyo State’s pension debt stood at N43 billion as of 2008, with Governor Seyi Makinde having paid N10 billion thus far, following a court directive.
Lagos State confronts the issue of unpaid pension rights, exceeding N10 billion, affecting over 10,000 retired civil servants.
Rivers State shoulders the heaviest burden, owing pensioners an unprecedented N119 billion from 2003 to 2023.
Cross River State owes N24 billion in gratuities, with Governor Senator Bassey Otu expressing readiness to resolve the issue by the end of 2023.
Bayelsa State is burdened with a debt of over N28 billion in gratuities to retirees, while maintaining up-to-date pension payments.
In Akwa Ibom State, gratuity arrears from August 2016 remain unpaid, with a gradual payment plan in place.
Delta State grapples with a debt of over N54 billion in pension and gratuities, with recent efforts to address the issue.
Benue State’s pension debt surpasses N100 billion, with local government pensioners owed 96 months of arrears and state pensioners owed 36 months of arrears.
Plateau State is up to date in pension payments but owes over N21 billion in gratuities and death benefits.
Bauchi State still owes around N23 billion in pension and gratuity, despite settling over N4 billion and not accumulating new arrears.
Nasarawa State owes over N50 billion to state and local government retirees, while Yobe State has an outstanding N2 billion in gratuities to pay.
Katsina State has managed to keep up with pension payments but carries an accumulated debt of not less than N10 billion as of May this year.
Kebbi State is one of the two states that are up to date in pension and gratuity payments.
Adamawa State owes approximately N4 billion in gratuity and pensions, with the backlog dating back to 2012.
Taraba State grapples with an unspecified backlog of gratuities since 2015.
Niger State holds an undisclosed debt in pensions and gratuities.
Borno State recently increased its monthly releases for payment of backlog gratuity, without specifying the exact amount.
Abia State pensioners are owed 48 months of arrears and 30 months of gratuity arrears, with the government currently making partial payments.
In Anambra State, the debt in outstanding pensions and gratuity arrears surpasses N10 billion, with ongoing efforts to address the issue.
Enugu State’s figures are unclear, but as of August, the gratuity debt alone amounted to N30 billion.
Ebonyi State recently approved the payment of arrears of gratuity to retirees from 1996 to 2021, expending over N3.8 billion.
Imo State does not have a precise figure for the amount owed in pensions and gratuities.
This nationwide crisis underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address the growing pension and gratuity arrears, ensuring that retirees receive the benefits they rightfully deserve.