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Pension arrears: Union makes case for retired primary school teachers By Nick Chibunna

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Imo State Chapter, has made a passionate appeal to the Imo State Government under Owelle Rochas Okorocha to, as a matter of urgency, pay the retired primary school teachers the arrears of their pensions totaling 13 months.

The union also lamented the stoppage of the Federal share of pensions to retired primary school teachers and made a case for the payment of bulk gratuity to pensioners, including the payment of 73 months arrears of harmonization based on 180% and 142% pension awards by the administrations of General Abdul Salam Abubakar and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

This “Save Our Soul” (SOS) message was the climax of an extra-ordinary crucial meeting of the state council of the union, comprising the state officers, national vice president, chairman and secretaries of branches and enlarged exco members held at the Union’s Headquarters Owerri, last Tuesday.

In an address presented by the State Chairman of the NUP, High Chief G.U. Ezeji (KSC), during the occasion he highlighted the problems, prospects and the achievements of the chapter within the period under review and expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for His loving kindness to the senior citizens.

Giving a break-down of the activities of his executive since its inauguration a year ago, he said that it has been a period of continuous struggle and mending of fences in order to ameliorate the sufferings of Imo pensioners.

Chief Ezeji spoke on the harmonization of pensions based on 6% Federal Government award of 2003, 15% federal government award of 2007 and the Owelle Rochas Okorocha N20,000 minimum wage.

The union boss specifically sympathized with retired primary school teachers who are being owed 13 months of monthly pension and encouraged them to exercise patience while efforts are being made to alleviate their sufferings.

In his own address, the national vice president of the union, High Chief (Dr) Emeka Onwumere pleaded with Imo pensioners not to be discouraged. He said that better days are in sight for the senior citizens, adding that both President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rochas Okorocha are pensioner-friendly. He also made for the payment of bulk gratuity and pension arrears.

Also in a report presented by the state principal secretary of the Union, Evang. L.U. Ashiegbu, he highlighted on the activities of the union within the period under review and pleaded with members to always have faith in the present executive under Chief G.U. Ezeji.

In a communiqué released after the meeting, the union among other things, commended its state chairman, High Chief G.U. Ezeji for the way he has been piloting the affairs of the union.

It also called on the Imo State government to expedite action on the payment of bulk gratuity and accumulated pension arrears.

The council also urged the Imo State government to continue the payment of pensions through the Community Government Council (CGC) as it alleviates the problems of pensioners.

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