Court Orders NNPC Fund To Pay Retirees N500 Million
The National Industrial Court on Monday ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Pension Fund Limited to pay N500 million to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pensioners who retired prior to 2004.
Presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Esowe gave the order while delivering judgment in a case filed by one Moshe Amaechi and three others on behalf of the pre-2004 retirees of the NNPC.
They had filed the suit in December 2011 to challenge the non-payment of their reviewed pension arrears, approved by the NNPC Board in 2009.
The claimants had also urged the court to declare that the N500 million was meant for the retirees who retired on or before December 31, 2004, of which the claimants are part.
During the hearing of the case, the defendant had submitted that the claimants did not represent the interest of all the affected retirees.
The NNPC had urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the claimants had no common interests and grievances. The commission also urged the court to hold that the claims were not beneficial to all the retirees.
The claimants’, however, submitted that the money was meant for the pensioners, who retired prior to 2004 and not for all the pensioners as alleged by the defendant.
They also argued that the defendant had no constitutional right to tamper with the pension, as approved by the relevant authority.
In her judgment, the judge held that the claimants had legal standing to institute the action since they were affected by the action of the defendant and that they were entitled to the N500 million.
The judge ordered that the N500 million approved and released by the board of the NNPC be distributed among the pensioners who retired on or before December 31, 2004.