The biometric verification of retired civil servants, who served in federal agencies, corporations and institutions, commenced smoothly in two centres in Enugu metropolis on Monday.
Journalists, who monitored the exercise at the centres located at the Independent Layout, reports that the pensioners began to arrive at the centres in large numbers as early as 7 a.m.
A cross-section of the pensioners told NAN that they were well received in comfortable air-conditioned halls by the officials of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), handling the exercise.
Each centre was programmed to verify a minimum of 400 pensioners daily for the 10 days the exercise was planned to last.
Mr John Nnaji, who retired from Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, commended the PTAD officials for their courtesies and patience with the pensioners.
Nnaji said: “I feel at home, the young people working in PTAD had treated us as their fathers and mothers and I am quite impressed.
“This shows a clear departure from previous experiences we had at similar verifications.”
Also, Mr Ignatius Ihebih, who retired from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, lauded PTAD for providing conducive environment and meals for them during the exercise.
Ihebih described the process as smooth and fast.
He, however, said that the attendance was high given that it was the first day and hoped that the crowd would thin down as the verification progressed.
“I can say that the process has improved, which means that government listened to our cry to make the process smooth and better,’’ he said.
An official of PTAD, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the senior citizens would be provided with launch during the exercise.
“We provided canopies and chairs to ensure that those who cannot get into the hall because of the crowd can wait under the canopies for their turn,’’ he said.
The nationwide exercise was to enable the PTAD to have a comprehensive, accurate and reliable database for pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme.
The database would also be used to address some irregularities in the system, including ghost workers syndrome, duplicate payments, over and under payments, among other needs.
It was also learnt that 270 agencies, including universities, tertiary education, health institutions and the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, were expected to be covered by the exercise.
Other agencies included Nigeria Railway Corporation, Nigeria Postal Service, Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, Nigeria Aviation Handling Company, Nigerian National Shipping Line and Assurance Bank, among others.