Why we took to the streets – Pensioners

Imo State pensioners have explained reasons why they shut down Owerri recently to protest. The protesters blocked the Okigwe road round about leading to Government House, Owerri and the Imo State Police Command.
Several appeals by the State Commissioner of Internal Resources and Pension Matters, Orikeze Vitalis Ajumbe and State Police Commissioner, Taiwo Lakanu  to calm the frayed nerves of the men and women of yester years was futile as they almost chased away the duo. They insisted on seeing the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha instead.
The Governor never showed up.
One of the pensioners slumped and was seen receiving medical treatment from medical personnel.
According to Chief. G. Ezeji, State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), he said they have suffered untold neglect and hardship from the Rochas Okorocha administration which has led to hunger and death ravaging some of their members.
He told INNONEWS.COM that “Okorocha started owing civil pensioners from February 2015 to May 31, 2016. Local government pensioners are now owed up to 26 months from March 2014 to May 2016. IBC pensioners are owed 36 months. AICE retirees are owed 68 months.
“The State government is also not paying gratuities to pensioners that are retiring weekly, monthly and yearly. The present Imo State government has refused to harmonize pension based on FG pension award of 6% in 2003, and 15% award of 2007, as well as 33% FG award of 2011.
“Imo State pensioners are receiving pensions based on Chief Olusegun Obasanjo minimum wage of N7, 500 awarded on 2000.
“The harmonization arrears accruing from the Abdulsalami Abubakar and Obasanjo awards totaling 73 months are unpaid to Imo pensioners.
“The retired permanent secretaries of Imo State are equally suffering with the civil service pensioners in all the problems listed above”
“Government only paid about 305 pensioners last October 2015. We made several entreaties to see the governor and sought for audience on June 10, 2015 and it was never granted till today.
“A good number of our members have died as a result of the starvation policy of the State government.
Ezeji added “The State government verified pensioners in 2011.
“Again in 2014 during the tenure of the maiden Commissioner for Internal Resources and Pensions, the Imo pensioners were verified for the third time in 2015 under the supervision of the chairman local government service commission that was followed by the 4th verification in all the community government councils”.

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Christian Voice