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Retired perm secs accuse Uzodimma of withholding pensions, gratuities

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
13 December 2021   |   4:07 am
Retired permanent secretaries in Imo State, under the aegis of Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries, have accused Governor Hope Uzodimma of deliberately withholding the payment of their pensions and gratuities from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2019.

Hope Uzodimma

We are working on verification of senior citizens, commissioner assures
Retired permanent secretaries in Imo State, under the aegis of Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries, have accused Governor Hope Uzodimma of deliberately withholding the payment of their pensions and gratuities from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2019.

The stated this at the weekend during their end-of-year party and investiture of former chairman of the association, Fabian I. Agba, as their patron in Owerri.

Chairman of the occasion, Dr. R. C. O. Ezeogu, lamented that the senior citizens had written several letters through the appropriate channels to the state government, but such letters had not been acknowledged.

They said they were conscious that the accumulation of arrears were done during the Rochas Okorocha administration, arguing that since government was a continuum, there was nothing wrong if the incumbent government paid them their entitlements.

Ezeogu explained that their pensions and gratuities from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2019 amounted to N1.8 billion and arrears of gratuities N683.8 million making a total of N2.5 billion.

He alleged that they were not given palliatives during the COVID-19 lockdown last year, adding: “The fact that the governor received our letters and did not reply, indicates that he is unwilling to pay us. But government is a continuum.”

He lamented that by their actions, successive governments wanted them dead so as to record fewer retirees to pay pensions and gratuities.

Also speaking, Timothy Azubuike, said they were grateful that God had kept them alive despite the sufferings they gone through due to the non-payment of the arrears.

He said they would, however, remain law abiding, urging that they be paid to enable them to take care of their needs, including procurement of drugs.

In his post investiture acceptance speech, Agba, who pledged to continue fighting the cause of the retirees in the state, commended his colleagues for finding him worthy of the honour.

But in his reaction, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, who said the state government was embarking on a thorough bio-data capturing exercise of the retirees, urged patience on the part of the retirees, until the exercise was completed.