While some of the Pensioners alleged that cheques issued to them by the government were not honoured by the bank, workers decried the nonpayment of full salaries since 2016.
The payment of pensions and salaries in Imo state has been a matter of controversy for some time now.
For instance, while government says it has paid arrears of pensions up to December 2016, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in the state insists that many of its members who refused to forfeit certain percentage of their arrears are still owed up to thirty months.
However, after verification conducted across the state, the Imo State government had since August commenced payment of three months arrears of pensions following the receipt of second tranche of Paris Club refund from the Federal Government.
Commenting on the exercise, the State Secretary, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr. Livinus Ashiegbu, decried the slow pace of the exercise, unexplained deductions, nonpayment of gratuities, non remittance of check off dues and nonpayment of benefits to the families of their deceased colleagues.
“It is unfortunate that the payment is still one: the payment of three months pension only.”
Mr. Ashiegbu appealed to the Federal government to monitor the disbursement of the Paris Club refund especially in States with burden of payment of salaries and pensions.
Another retiree, Mr. Fabian Agba, acknowledged the receipt of three months arrears but called for the payment of all outstanding months to enable them to attend to their needs.
“I was paid three months last Monday and that (sic) three months is (sic) out of 29 months arrears.”
The situation is, however, different with Mr. Edmond Amaechi and Chief Emmanuel Oshionya, who claimed that their cheques were not honoured by their banks.
“The cheque left me in the limbo, somebody who retired as (a) Chief Registrar, high court, Imo has not been paid.
“I have spoken to some of my friends and it is the same sad story.”
The State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, accused the government of lack of transparency in the process and called for the removal of bottlenecks in the payment of pensions in the state.
“Not up to two-third of the local government areas in Imo state has gotten their own.”
Comrade Chilakpu said the organized labour would soon make its position known on the nonpayment of full salaries to workers in the state.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the State government, Mr. George Eche, had during the recent Teachers Day celebration in Owerri blamed the shortfall on paucity of funds.
Reacting to the issues of pensions, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Electronic Media, Dr. EbereNzewuji, said the payment had been seamless noting that the delay experienced was as a result of fraud detected in the system.
“We found out that some civil servants in the pension office have been inflating figures all these years.”
Dr. Nzewuji stated that funds were available for the payment and expressed the optimism that the exercise would be concluded soon.