Pensioners in Abia State, on Tuesday, pleaded with the State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, not to let them die of hunger and neglect and pay their outstanding pensions.
Trooping out into the streets in their large numbers, the pensioners pleaded with Ikpeazu to consider their plight after rendering meritorious services to the state, lamenting that they have been left to die on daily basis.
Under the aegis of Concerned Abia State Pensioners Association, they demanded for the payment of their outstanding unpaid pensions from the state government, stating in the various placards they displayed along the major streets of Umuahia, “Concerned Abia State Pensioners In A Peaceful State-wide Protest for Non-payment of 20 years Gratuity 2002 – 2022, 38 Months Arrears of Monthly Pension, No Harmonisation of Pension for 20 years now”.
Speaking, their Coordinator, Comrade Emeka Okezie, lamented, “We are disappointed that despite that the state collects monthly federal allocations and Internally Generated Revenue, we are not paid our pensions.” He added that even the half pension, which the government promised to be paying monthly, had not been regular.
“We plead with members of the public to help persuade the government to pay us. After our last protest in March this year, we resolved to embark on regular protests of about two or three times monthly. But we slowed down expecting that there would be a change, but there was no change. We are dying daily. Five of us died two days ago at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, and many of our members, more than 3,000 members, have become too weak to join in these road protests,” he said.
The state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, had recently promised to clear all outstanding salaries and pensions before the end of his tenure in May 2023.