·         Govt owing pensioners 45 months arrears

FOUR pensioners slumped and were hospitalised on Tuesday in Imo while protesting over five months of unpaid pensions owed them by the state government, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

According to NAN, the incident happened around Imo State Government House Roundabout at the state capital in Owerri.

One of the retirees, who slumped but was revived, Margret Onuoha, said she retired from the state civil service on Grade Level 14. She claimed that her late husband, Eugene Onuoha, also a retiree, died in the struggle in 2016 and was never paid till date.

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The Widow said her heath condition had worsened in the last five months that she has not received a kobo of her pension.

The protest, led by the state Chairman of Imo Pensioners Intervention Committee, Comrade Iyke Ohaneje, caused heavy traffic as the protesters blocked the popular Okigwe Road roundabout, NAN reports.

The retirees displayed placards with inscriptions; “We are not ghost retirees,” “Uzodimma is playing politics with our lives”, “Pay us our money now or face the wrath of God.”

Comrade Ohaneje said the protest was about the third the pensioners had embarked upon and accused the state government of ignoring the plight of the retirees.

“Government is owing us a total of 45 months pension arrears, but we are asking it to pay us five months arrears accumulated since March 2020,” he said.

The chairman said they embarked on the protest because the state government had alleged that they were ghost pensioners. “Government has accused us of being ghost pensioners, but we have woken up from the grave to tell the government that we are not ghost retirees,” he said.

Addressing the retirees, the state Commissioner of Police, Issac Akinmoyede, appealed to the protesters to maintain peace and channel their grievances to the appropriate quarter. He also assured that he would communicate their message to the governor for action.

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