By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Imo state chapter has cried out over unsettled pensions and gratuities owed them by the state government. This, according to the union is made up of N26 billion for pensions and N30 billion for gratuities.
In a statement jointly signed by the chapter’s chairman, Chief J. D Osuigwe and the senior assistant secretary, Prince O.F Ezike, the senior citizens said that the amount was reached at because their leadership produced forms for each pensioner to fill showing what is being owed to him/ her, local government by local government through the NUP branch chairman who countersigned them, retired permanent secretaries not inclusive.
“We are, hereby, appealing to the leadership of the NLC and the federal government to conduct public hearing specifically for Imo State pensioners to ascertain the truth, from the horse’s mouth perhaps local government by local government.
Furthermore, we are appealing to the leadership of the NLC and the federal government to compel the Imo state government under Rochas Okorocha to use the bail-out funds to clear all the arrears to pensions and gratuities owed Imo state pensioners”.
According to the embattled retired civil servants, since February 2015, the state government has deliberately refused to release check-off duly meant for them, pleading that any future pension payment be paid by a constituted body by the federal government.
Lamenting that pensioners in the state are being owed gratuities from 1998 till date, the pensioners also alleged that the three months pension payment made in August this year was 40% which was against the court ruling of 5th July 2017 in their favour and which ruled that 100% payment should be given to them according to the nation’s constitution.
“It is embarrassing and shocking that the Imo state government under Rochas Okorocha has continued to claim that is has cleared all arrears of pension and gratuities owned to Imo state pensioners”.