Imo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has declared that it will lead its members on a public demonstration if the state government fails to pay their pension arrears at the end of its 21 days ultimatum.
Imo State Chairman of NUP, Chief Gideon Ezeji, made the position of Imo pensioners known in a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency executive meeting on Wednesday in Owerri.
“The Imo State NUP had given the government a 14-day notice starting from July 16, at the expiration of the 14 days, we will give another seven days and if the government fails to pay the arrears, we will march through the streets of Owerri”, Ezeji read.
The council also disclosed its objection to the planned verification of Imo pensioners as well as staggering the payment of pension arrears owed members to 36 instalments. The union insists that before any form of verification would be conducted, the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha must pay at least three months arrears to pensioners to enable them present themselves for the exercise.
“The government should pay three months arrears of pension for these starving and sick pensioners to receive something to enable them to gain strength to come for the verification. Pensioners who retired as primary school teachers are owed 18 months, local government pensioners owed six months and pensioners from the civil service are owed five months, among others”, it demanded.
The communiqué also condemned the agreement between the state government and the Nigeria Labour Congress to spread the payment of the arrears for 36 months as well as the failure of the Okorocha-led government to attend to demands of the union or meet with him them over their plight. “There are pensioners who receive less than N10,000 monthly; if you spread such amount for 36 months, how much will such person go out monthly to collect,’’ the union stated.
By Olisemeka Obeche