In the federation, no less than 21 states are burdened with a staggering collective debt of N790 billion in outstanding pensions and gratuities for retirees.
Upon close examination by Vanguard, it was revealed that Rivers State is the foremost offender, with a daunting N119 billion backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuities. Benue State ranks second, owing a significant N100 billion.
Furthermore, the South-West region leads with a hefty sum of N256 billion, closely trailed by the Niger Delta, accumulating N225 billion.
This onerous burden of pensions and gratuities has been the result of accumulation by successive state governments. The current administrations are grappling with the challenge of settling these arrears.
As per Vanguard’s investigations, only Kaduna and Kebbi states have remained up to date in their pension and gratuity payments to retirees. Shockingly, 13 states, at the time of this report, have failed to determine the precise amount they owe their retirees in pensions and gratuities.
Here’s a summary of some of the states and their outstanding pension and gratuity arrears:
1. Ondo: The state government owes over N56 billion in pension and gratuities, with arrears dating back to 2011 for local government pensioners and 2014 for state pensioners.
2. Ekiti: Ekiti State owes pensioners around N40 billion in outstanding gratuities and five months of pension arrears from 2014 till date.
3. Ogun: The government owes N64 billion in gratuities, with Governor Dapo Abiodun inheriting N68 billion of gratuities for state and local government retirees.
4. Osun: The state owes members N50 billion in pensions as of 2022.
5. Oyo: The government owed retirees N43 billion as of 2008. Governor Seyi Makinde paid N10 billion, but N3 billion remained unpaid, affecting retired primary school teachers and local government pensioners.
6. Lagos: Over 10,000 retired civil servants in Lagos State are awaiting their pension rights worth over N10 billion. The state government disbursed N52 billion to pensioners in the state civil service from 2019 till date.
7. Rivers: The Rivers State Government tops the list with over N119 billion owed to pensioners, spanning from 2003 to 2023.
8. Cross River: The state owes pensioners N24 billion in gratuities, with payments made until 2014.
9. Bayelsa: The state owes over N28 billion in gratuities to retirees dating back to 2007 but is up to date in pension payments.
10. Akwa Ibom: While there is no data on the accumulated arrears in gratuities, the state is up to date in pension payments.
11. Delta: The state owes over N54 billion in pension and gratuities to retirees, with a recent release of N5 billion for pension arrears.
12. Benue: Benue State owes over N100 billion in unpaid pensions and gratuities, with local government pensioners owed 96 months arrears and state pensioners owed 36 months arrears.
13. Plateau: The state is up to date in pension payments but owes over N21 billion in gratuities and death benefits.
14. Bauchi: Despite paying over N4 billion and not accumulating new arrears, the state still has about N23 billion in outstanding pension and gratuity inherited from previous administrations since 2011.
15. Nasarawa: Both state and local government retirees are owed over N50 billion in unpaid benefits.
16. Yobe: The state government has about N2 billion in outstanding gratuities to pay, with monthly releases to offset the arrears.
17. Katsina: Pensioners have been paid up to date, but the state owes not less than N10 billion as of May.
18. Kebbi: Kebbi State is up to date in pension and gratuity payments.
19. Adamawa: Pensioners are owed about N4 billion in gratuity and pensions, with arrears dating back to 2012.
20. Taraba: The state has a backlog of gratuities for retirees dating back to 2015, with difficulties in capturing over 1,000 retirees into the monthly pension system.
21. Niger: No official figures were provided, but as of May this year, the backlog of unpaid gratuities amounted to about a billion.
22. Borno: Due to the backlog of gratuity owed pensioners, the state governor recently announced a 100% increase in monthly releases for payment, with about N20 billion released to reduce the backlog.
23. Abia: Pensioners in Abia are owed 48 months of arrears and 30 months of gratuity arrears. While the state pays monthly pensions, they currently receive half payments pending the completion of an ongoing verification process.
24. Anambra: The state owes N10 billion in outstanding pensions and gratuity arrears. The new administration is working to clear the inherited arrears.
25. Enugu: Figures are unclear, but as of August, gratuity alone was N30 billion.
26. Ebonyi: The state recently approved the payment of gratuity arrears to retirees from 1996 to 2021, expending over N3.8 billion.
27. Imo: There is no certainty regarding the amount owed in pensions or gratuities.
These figures represent a significant financial burden on the affected states and an urgent concern for retirees who are waiting for their rightful dues.