By Peter Uzoma
On twenty- third of July 2020, a Tuesday, over one thousand aggrieved pensioners who shut down the city of Owerri protesting non payment of their four months pension arrears went home with calmed nerves after the Secretary to the State Government (SSG)Chief Cosmos Iwu had addressed them.
The SSG in the course of his address promised the pensioners that they would receive alerts for the said payments on or before Friday that week. He conceded they were being owed and thanked them for their endurance and comportment.
Unfortunately, Trumpeta investigation reveals that even as at the time of writing, the worn out and weary pensioners are yet to receive any alerts.
An impeccable source in the Government House told Trumpeta that the job of the SSG, Chief Cosmos Iwu, was to be on line but for some “inner” reasons as the Governor Senator Hope Uzodinma was said to be angry with him for making the promises he made the pensioners last Tuesday.
The source said then as a makeup, the Commissioner for Information, Chief Emelumba was given two immediate assignments. One, to go on two radio stations in Owerri to counter the promise by SSG and the others to summon the leaders of the Imo NLC, Austin Chilakpu and Imo NUP J O Ugochukwu to the Government House.
Our source who confided in the newspaper disclosed that no sooner had Messers Chilakpu and Ugochukwu arrived than they were induced to make official statements dissociating themselves and their Unions from the said protest by the pensioners. Commissioner Emelumba in his two radio outings had described the pensioners as rented crowds and not pensioners insisting that in the real sense the government was owing real pensioners only two months.
In an interview, the leader of the protesting pensioners under the aegis of Pensioners Intervention Committee (PIC), Comrade Iyke Ohaneje lamented that it was the lying strategy of Uzodinma’s government which led to their coming out on the streets adding that the present administration delights in lies and always ready to explain failures.
According to Comrade Ohaneje ” before we started demonstration, we communicated all relevant authorities including the DSS, Police, Army, NSCDS, FRSC, NLC, NUP, NBA ,CAN as well as other responsible bodies and wondered why Messers Chilakpu and Ugochukwu should now come to deny us because of peanuts”.
Also reacting, an aggrieved pensioner and retired School Principal, Dr JOJ Ukonuin regretted that “Imo state government is full of falsehood just as it has goofed again by disappointing pensioners on alert. The Commissioner for Information should change his falsehood, propaganda and lies strategy just as he is placing a curse on his generation because his ideology and idiosyncrasies will certain backfire. “
Dr Ukonu described the denial of Chief Cosmos Iwu’s promise to the pensioners as petty and challenged Governor Uzodinma to tell Imolites what has been happening to the State’s monthly allocation.
It would be recalled that since Feb 2020 till June 23rd 2020 over 42 pensioners had died just as latest report say about ten more died recently because of hunger and lack of medication.