The pensioners were seen along the Arochukwu/Ohafia road carrying placards with inscriptions; “18 months of pension,” “we are starving, pay us please, some of us are dying.”
Speaking with our reporter in Ohafia, somee of them said they had not received any pension arrears which some others benefited from about few weeks ago.
The Deputy Chairman, Ohafia Union of Pensioners, Elder UdumaOnwuka, noted that despite all their efforts as well as written application to the State government for payment of their arrears nothing has been done to that effect.
“We had done everything humanly possible, like we have written the government; we have gone to people that matter and nothing has happened. I retired in 2013; I am yet to receive my gratuity.”
Pensioners in the state are appealing to the government to intervene in their situation to enable them to take care of their financial needs.
In a related development, the federal government has been commended for paying 6 months arrears of the 33 percent increase in the pensions of it retired civil servants.
The Chairman, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Enugu Pensioners Union, Mr. Osita Agha, made the commendation during a meeting of the members.
He urged the government to endeavour to clear the outstanding 24 months of the increment to demonstrate its care for the welfare of the senior citizens; most of whom had died while waiting for the payment.
Mr. Agha noted that the payment of the outstanding amount would greatly relieve pensioners of many health challenges resulting from services they provided during their productive years on their jobs.
The Chairman advised that now the federal government had initiated another exercise to review the existing salary structure, whatever was the entitlement of the pensioners would also reflect in the minimum wage of the serving officers.
Mr. Agha noted that many pensioners received less than ₦10,000 monthly as against the minimum wage of ₦18,500 in the civil service.
He urged the federal government to ensure that payment of the expected reviewed salary structure takes effect simultaneously for the civil servants and the pensioners from same date to avoid late payment of arrears which had been a problem to the government.
LAWRENCE NWOKEDI AND ESTHER OGBU