The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP in Abia has said the major constraint facing pensioners is the piling up of huge arrears of unpaid pensions and gratuities owed retirees in Abia State.
Presenting his address on the occasion of the 2017 Pensioners’ Day celebration at the NUP permanent site, Umuahia, the State Chairman of the union, Comrade Chukwuma Ndubuisi Udensi lamented that the refusal of government to meet the leadership of NUP in Abia State to agree on the way forward with regards to liquidating the debts.
Udensi who regretted that government only listen to protest, demonstration of workers and pensioners said they would never relent in engaging in protest to press for payment of backlog of pension owed them.
He however opined that government should devout some percentage of funds gotten by the state for payment of pensioners according to their year of retirement on monthly basis, maintaining that pensioners in the state have gone through a harrowing experience because of lack of payment of pension.
He appealed to the government to determine to begin to pay pensioners in the State from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC funds on monthly basis and set up a committee to work out modalities for implementing the various percentage awards to pensioners by the Federal Government aimed at harmonizing and increasing the monthly take home packages of pensioners especially in Abia State, where some pensioners still receive as low as N500 as monthly pension.
He said, “We have also suggested modalities for the disbursement of the release and subsequent ones, to include ten percent of the money released be set aside to attend to pensioners with proven need of assistance; whereas the ninety percent left be paid out to pensioners in full according to their year of retirement on a first come, first served basis”.
Udensi however commended the Abia State Government for making available, last October, the sum of N100m to begin to scratch payment of gratuity to Abia pensioners and urged the government to make such releases a monthly affairs.
In his sermon, Rev. Christopher Abarugo advised Pensioners in Abia state not to lose their trust in God in the face of frustration arising from several months of pension owed them.
According to the clergy, God was capable of visiting the aged in their various needs and worry, stressing that worry has never solved any problem rather it increases one’s chance of getting ill.
He therefore urged the pensioners to put their hope in God for a turn around in their travails.
Earlier in his opening remarks the former Chairman of Local Government Service Commission in the state, Chief Dan Egbeogu pointed out the need for pensioners to keep fighting for their right, adding that they were entitled to their pension but suggested they do it without violence.
By Sunday Nwakanma – Umuahia