Pensioners flay FG’s alleged refusal to implement 33% pension arrears’ increase
• Delta govt unpaid arrears may spark off protest
Pensioners of the Delta State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUOP) have flayed the Federal Government on its alleged refusal to implement the 33 percent pension arrears’ increase approved since July, 2016.
Expectedly, the pensioners have also accused the state government of her unwillingness to pay their outstanding arrears, alleging that secret efforts to sabotage their interest in the scheme of things may prepare them for a protest in no distant time.
Unconfirmed sources had hinted our reporter that over six of the pensioners had recently died of hunger after their efforts to receive their pension from the state government failed.
But the pensioners’ chairman in the state, Ogbueshi Robert Chukwunyem in a swift reaction while speaking to journalists yesterday in Asaba, dispelled as untrue, adding that though the state government was yet to pay their pension arrears, they are only faced with serious hardship of paucity funds to meet some of their domestic demands, including the present economy recession.
The state government through the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah had last Monday reacted to the unpaid outstanding arrears of the pensioners, disclosing that the state government had released over N2 billion since its inception for the payment of pensioners.
Ukah who spoke to journalists on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s giant stride said: “For paucity funds some payments have not been made, but Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa is very passionate about the welfare of pensioners, I had released over N2 billion to settle their payments, and he is ready to do more as soon as funds are available”.
Ogbueshi Robert Chukwunyem while calling on Federal and State Governments to visit their plight as the yuletide season draws near, he added: “I want to appeal to the State and Federal Governments as well as Managements of Parastatals/institutions responsible for the payments of pensions to step up efforts in the preparation and payment of December pension before Christmas, we need money to care for our needs, and put smiles on our faces, we are hungry, government seems to be insensitive to our plight as senior citizens, we in Delta State here are not finding things easy in the area of our pension, we need Governor Okowa to come to our aid before it gets out of hand” alleging that the pensioners have not been paid their arrears in the last six months.
Noting that pensioners have not been treated fairly by successive governments, Ogbueshi Chukwunyem however appealed to Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to come to their aid and pay the outstanding arrears to enable them have something to celebrate Christmas.
His words: “Let us for once put behind us even though temporary our pairs, agony of the past, let us celebrate our heritage, to become a pensioner is not easy, the title, senior citizens is not up for sale in the market” adding that both federal and state governments have not lived up to expectations retired directors in the state who did not want their names in the print also accused the Governor of not doing much in the area of paying pensioners, disclosing their pension has not been regular since he assumed the leaders of the state.“We cannot fold our hands and be denied of our pensions, Okowa had not been doing us well in payments of our pensioner” they said.