Aggrieved pensioners in Imo State yesterday continued their push to cause
Governor Rochas Okorocha to pay up the arrears of pensions and gratuities
The pensioners under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Imo State
chapter, went for a church service at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri
where they cried out in prayers to God calling for divine intervention in their
The senior citizens who lamented over what they termed the inhuman
treatment meted out to them by the Owelle Okorocha administration, called
well-meaning Imolites to join them in prayers and other efforts aimed at
ensure the governor pays them accordingly.
Led by the state secretary of the union, Evang. Livinus U. Ashiegbu, the Union
explained that the reason for seeking God's intervention is anchored on the
realization that no human being or problem is greater than God since "nothing
is impossible with God."
He reiterated that pensioners in the state were owed between 33 to 99
months pension arrears adding that the state government has not gratuities to
retired workers since 1999.
Disclosing that countless retirees in the state have died untimely since the past
three years as a result of the deliberate impoverishment of the pensioners by
Governor Okorocha's government, Evang. Ashiegbu condemned the
percentage payment system adopted by the present administration and called
for an end to it.
He further advised pensioners to stop filing forms, signing documents and
collecting cash or cheque from the government without clearance from the
union stressing that payment of pension is a constitutional right of the retirees
not a gesture.
In his homily at the concelebrated Holy Mass, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, of
Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, condemned in strong terms the way pensioners
in Imo State were subjected to untold hardship by the government that should
protect them as citizens.
The prelate blamed the economic crisis responsible for the failure of
government to pay pensioners and workers alike on unbridled selfish
tendencies of the ruling class who he said want to own fellow humans as
"Our leaders today commit all sorts of atrocities because they want to become
billionaires at the expense of the life and well being of fellow human beings.
We look forward to having a leader-servant in Imo State to get things working
again," Obinna stated.
He however prayed for the old men and women and encouraged them not to
lose faith in God saying that the their coming to bring their plight before God
on the Pentecost Sunday would cause