By Peter Uzoma
Despite all attempts by the state government to forestall a pensioners gathering in Owerri last Tuesday under the auspices of Pensioners Intervention Committee (PIC), the Imo State pensioners still gathered in Owerri to discuss their welfare.
Reading a prepared speech captioned “Dehumanization of Imo State Pensioners” at the Imo State Freedom square, Owerri, the Secretary of the PIC, Comrade M.C. Amaechi x-rayed the negative attitudes of various governments towards pensioners in the state.
He regretted that the state government reneged in its obligations as enshrined in section 210 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, which guarantees the protection and payment of monthly pensions to retired citizens which default has caused the death of many retirees.
Comrade Amaechi said pensioners in the state, rejects in its entirety, the reasons given by government for nonpayment of pensions, which bothered on fraud and described the reasons as ruse because the pensioners do not prepare their pay vouchers themselves.
He disclosed that the PIC sent out delegations simultaneously to other zones to submit the documents to known leaders in the areas such as Bishops, traditional rulers and prominent citizens for possible mediation.
In an interview, the Chairman of PIC, Comrade Iyke Ohaneje, who also led a team to another zone, told Trumpeta that the situation was worrisome because what pensioners were asking for was not government money perse but money deducted from their salaries while in service to be paid them for their upkeep on retirement.
Comrade Ohaneje revealed that their SOS has reached all well meaning citizens in the State and hoped that by the time they intervene succour could come the way of pensioners.
He then appealed to the Governor to listen to the voice of reason.
A retired Principal, Chief Dr JOJ Ukonu said he has lost count of how many months he is owed adding that all he could remember was that he got pension last in February 2020.
He condemned and described as unacceptable the present payment template whereby the retired Permanent Secretaries and other retirees whose take home are below fifty thousand naira were singled out and paid leaving others.
The document captioned “Dehumanization Of Imo State Pensioners ” was duly signed by Comrades Iyke I Ohaneje (Chairman), M C Amaechi( Secretary), T L O Chiagoro and J C Asoh as members of the Pensioners Intervention Committee(PIC).