By Ugonne Uzoma
Owerri, Nov. 4, 2020 The Chairman of the Imo branch of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr Josiah Ugochukwu, said on Wednesday that the members were owed over N60 billion pension arrears.
Ugochukwu said this at a news briefing in Owerri, adding that the next of kin of deceased members of the union were owed over N20 billion.
He blamed the development on government’s failure to conduct a verification of the people.
He said that the union had been patient enough with Gov. Hope Uzodimma and set to protest.
According to him, the governor has so far paid 7,887, while 17,637 had yet to be paid.
Ugochukwu said: “From March 2020, the governor stopped paying pensions over alleged fraud detected in the payment of January and February pensions.
“He insisted that a biometric verification of pensioners would be carried out before payments resume.
“As a result of this, over 60 per cent of Imo pensioners have not recieved their pensions since march 2020.
“We have been patient enough with the government but it has shown no concern or try to mitigate our sufferings.
“We have lost at least 30 members this year and we are unhappy about it.”
The NUP chairman further said that government had also failed to remit check-off dues to the union as provided by the Trade Union Act.
He also recalled that pensioners, who retired since 1998, had yet to be paid their gratuities.
He also said that those, who were captured in December 2019, were still owed from August 2019 to date.
He, therefore, urged the governor to pay them all their outstanding arrears, adding that they would exhaust all avenues to ensure they were paid.
He charged the union members to come out in their numbers on November 6 for a planned street protest against what he called the “dehumanisation” of their members.