FIC Report (Abia State) – The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP Abia State Chapter has expressed displeasure with the way and manner pensions are paid in the state despite the serious pressures mounted on the State Government by the Union on pension payment.
In his address during the Year 2021 Pensioners’ Day Celebration/Solemn assembly observed in a low key at Margaret Schools Hall, Umuahia, Comrade John Ekpendu, acting Chairman of the Union lamented that pensioners were amongst the vulnerable people, weak and easily hurt physically and emotionally; adding that many pensioners have gone to the great beyond as there was no money for them to buy drugs due to the pattern of pension payment in Abia State.
He revealed that matters of concern presented to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on the 6th of July 2021, when the leadership of the Union met with him include: Irregular pension payment in the state; unilateral slashing of pensioners’ take home package to as much as 60 percent by Government; Nonpayment of gratuities and; Non-implementation of pension increases in Abia State including the recently approved consequential adjustment on pensions as a result of the approved new minimum wage.
The Union demanded that the Government pay 100 percent pensions to Abia State pensioners; pay pension regularly and as when due; pay arrears of pensions which have run up to 33 months in all from the year 2014; and effect Federal Government’s approved pension increases to the Senior Citizens of Abia State.
Other demands include: to set up a committee to work out the consequential adjustment in pension payments as a result of the new minimum wage approved by the Federal Government; pay gratuities to affected pensioners in Abia State and; remit the Union’s check-off dues regularly and promptly.
Ekpendu regretted that, “As at the 14th day of December, 2021, the Union cannot pay her staff, electricity bills, office rent and branch rebates due to irregular remittance of check-off dues to her”, pointing out that if the Union’s check-off dues are paid regularly and promptly, it will make the Union functional and alive to her responsibilities.
On the recent announcement where Government earmarked N520 million for the payment of pensioners in the state, Ekpendu recalled that during the Union’s recent meeting with Governor’s representative and other top Government officials, they were promised that N530 million would be given for pension’s payment within 10 days; but wondered what happened to the remaining N10 million even as it has clocked 7 days since the promise with no evidence of payment.
The event saw the pensioners pray for the Abia State Government, pensioners among other intercessory prayers officiated by Rev. Canon Julius Ikpe.