The Abia state council of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), has insisted that the state government is owing them more than five months arrears of monthly pensions.
They called on the Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to urgently see the need to meet the union leaders for face to face discussion on the issues, so as to save the state from any embarrassing situation.
Briefing journalists at the council Secretariat in Umuahia, the NUP State Chairman, Comrade Chukwuma Ndubuisi Udensi, listed other outstanding areas to include, 59 months pension harmonization arrears, owed to some pensioners; five and half years pension arrears from 2002 to 2007 owed to retired primary school teachers.
He also made mention of the unimplemented pension increases of 6%, 15% and 33%, a situation which he says has made most of the pensioners earn as low as 500 Naira per month.
He described it as very outrageous, inhuman and unacceptable to the Union.
Giving further details, the NUP boss gave stated: “August to December 2014 (5months); January to April, 2015 (4months); August to December, 2016 (5months) and January 2017 (1month).
“It has become pertinent to debunk the very statement by the state government that it is not owing more than five months arrears of monthly pensions. This is false and highly embarrassing.
“By this claim, it would appear that the government is unappreciative of the patience that pensioners of Abia state have displayed since the inception of government of Okezie Ikpeazu.
“I want to set the record straight which is the main purpose of this press briefing. As at today, the Government of Abia State is owing pensioners at least 15 months arrears of monthly pensions.
“I must say that it is an open secret that Abia pensioners are owed over 16 years of gratuities, and it is a pity that pensioners have gradually become endangered species in ‘God’s own State’.
“We have been relegated to the level of near abandonment and I want to say that this is very unfortunate as we expect the government to show a better appreciation of the meritorious services which we have rendered to the fatherland.
“I want to suggest that the government should make available the sum of 130 million Naira monthly for gradual/monthly settlement of these debts to pensioners and set up a committee comprising government officials and NUP officials for equitable distribution of the money.
Furthermore, Udensi said: “For the monthly pensions, government should consider paying two months at a go, one for current and one for arrears, even though this method may prolong the liquidation of the pensions arrears, it will reassure pensioners that government is sincere in its bid to liquidate the debts.
“The same method goes for the settlement of harmonization arrears and five and half years arrears owed retired civil servants and retired primary school teachers respectively,” he added.