Retirees decry Wike’s unwillingness to pay gratuity despite release of Paris fund
The Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP, has expressed sadness over alleged unwillingness by the Rivers state government to pay gratuities and accrued arrears of retirees to its members who were included on new payroll from 2014 to 2016.
The immediate past State Chairman of the Union, Edward Festus-Abibo, stated this at the weekend during a hand over address at the state delegate conference in Port Harcourt.
He regretted that despite the Federal Government released of Paris Club fund to assist the state clear all outstanding pensions and workers salaries, the retirees and still neglected and left to suffer.
Festus-Abibo alleged that the state government had adopted a policy of total neglect and disregard to their cries. He however appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to pay all their entitlement in the interest of justice.
He said: “It is sad and regrettable to note that the Rivers State Government is unwilling to pay all outstanding entitlement to our pensioners despite our pleading and appeals to the state government.
“The Rivers State Government has adopted a policy of absolute neglect and disregard to our cries even with the release of Paris Club Refund by the Federal Government to assist the states thrice to enable them clear all outstanding pension and workers salaries.
“It is very sad that successive administrations will in this state continue to treat pensioners with distain, hostility and unfriendly attitude in the midst of booming contract award and will refuse to take the welfare of pensioners as a project after 35 years meritorious and unblemished services upon which the present leaders are now enjoying the milk and honey at their disposal. May God forgive those who enjoy the sufferings of others and laugh at them.”
However, the newly elected state chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners in the state, Collins Iheanyu-Wnonkwo, lamented that some pensioners have died as result of hardship arising from non payment of their stipends.
Wnonkwo said: “Some of the pensioners have died because they could not afford to take care of themselves when the challenges hit them because their we’re not paid their entitlements by the Rivers State government’
“This money we are talking about is not a privileged but our reserved salary which was kept when we we’re still serving, so government so not to delay in the payment, now that I m elected as chairman, thank God I am from Ikwerre the same ethnic nationality with the Governor, so I will start were others stop to fight for the payment of the money, we will negotiate but we’re necessary, we will approach the court as the last resort.”
Efforts to get the state government was futile as the Special Assistant to the Governor on electronic media, Simeon Nwakaudu, when contacted directed The Guardian to get details from the Pension’s office and all efforts to reach the office was unsuccessful.
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