Pensioners paralyze commercial activities in Owerri

Vehicular movements and commercial activities were again brought to a halt, yesterday, in Owerri, capital of Imo State when angry pensioners protested refusal of the state government to pay them several months of pension arrears.

The pensioners appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to call the governor to order by respecting the constitution of the country which he had sworn to uphold.

The protesting pensioners came out in their numbers with placards bearing inscriptions such as “Corrupt man cannot fight corruption,” “Okorocha, pay us our 100 per cent arrears of pensions,” “Imo pensioners cannot be forced to accept 40 per cent of their accumulated pension arrears,” among others.

They blocked the entrance to the Government House at the major Okigwe Road in the metropolis, forcing vehicles to turn back as the elderly pensioners barricaded the entire road.

Addressing newsmen during the protest, the state chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Chief Gideon Ezeji said the governor lied when he claimed in a radio broadcast that he had cleared all pension arrears.

“This is the third time we would be protesting the refusal of the state government to pay us our pension arrears. The second one was on December 20, 2016 but the state governor did not pay us.

Ezeji said: “Let me remind the governor that the review and fixing of pension rates are the responsibility of the appropriate Federal Government institutions and not by any state government” and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to save Imo pensioners by calling the governor to respect the provisions of the constitution which he had sworn to uphold.

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state that he has paid while he hasn’t, it is quite unfortunate.”

Similarly, the Chairman of retired Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Mr.Alex Ukaegbu lamented that they were owed 77 months pension arrears by the state government.

Speaking in the same vein, Chief Fabian Agba, secretary of retired permanent secretaries in the state said it was a deliberate plan by the state governor to allow pensioners to die.

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