PENSIONERS in Rivers State have cried out over the state government’s alleged refusal to pay them their full pension arrears, lamenting that the situation was taking a fatal toll on their members.
Chairman of Rivers Council of Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Mr. Edward Abibo, in a statement, said: “Tep, an Ogoni, Engr. Amakri and Mr. George, are among recent casualties lost to the struggle for our pension arrears.”
Abibo noted that six months ago, the aged retirees protested the state government’s alleged reluctance to pay primary school teachers the federal share of 12 years arrears after the responsibility to pay was transferred to states by the Federal Government.
“All other states had kept faith with this responsibility except Rivers State Government. The arrears have run into millions of naira, which the government considers too much to shoulder and it had also refused to pay retirees’ entitled pension increase between 2003 and 2007,” he said.
Abibo added that while the union’s earlier protest moved the government to set up a committee to look into their agitations, nothing had been heard after the committee completed its task and submitted its report.
He urged the state governor to see their agitation as a matter of right, adding, “The government should stop subjecting the senior citizens of the state to ridicule as though they were pestering him to reap where they did not sow.”