‘Why we rejected Okorocha’s partial payment of pensions arrears’
Retired public workers in Imo State have rejected the 40 per cent partial payment of their pension arrears as proposed by the state government. They said writing off the remaining 60 per cent would amount to the denial of their rights.
On why they rejected the proposal, the retired workers told journalists it was obvious that the government was not ready to pay their pension arrears.
The Imo State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Chief Gideon Ezeji, stated that as at November 2016, the government had accumulated unpaid pensions arrears of about 76 months for various categories of retired workers.
“It may shock you to know that the Imo State government has not harmonised pension increases since year 2000. Gratuities have accumulated since 1998 for all categories. Civil pensioners are owed 21 months, local councils 22 months, retired primary school teachers 31 months, IBC pensioners 42 months and permanent secretaries 21 months and Alvan Ikoku College of Education 76 months,” he said.
Ezeji and the union’s Zonal Chairman, Chief Chukwuma Udensi and chairmen from other states in the zone insisted that they would not sign the agreement on the payment. They argued that the state government made the decision without consulting them.
The union members regretted that many of their members have died while waiting for their pensions.
“At Avuru Ikeduru, a husband and wife died and were buried the same day without getting their pensions. Governor Rochas Okorocha embarked on fanfare when Imo citizens are dying of hunger.
“What we are saying is that if he has one or two months of our pensions and gratuities, he should pay us 100 per cent and not partial payment,” Ezeji stated.
He said the peaceful demonstration which was suspended because of Christmas celebration would begin on January 5 and continue until the money was paid.