Reporter : CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
Retirees of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu have protested against the continued slashing of their pension entitlements by the Enugu State Government. The pensioners said that the protest was necessary to draw the attention of the governor to their plight having exhausted all available options, including approaching some Christian leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist denominations in the State to intervene in the matter. The pensioners complained that the under-payment of their entitlements, by one-quarter, was not only against the laws guiding computation of pension in the state but also negatively affecting them.
Addressing journalists in Enugu, a retired Deputy Registrar in the Institution, Mr. Pius Idoko, explained that IMT’s retirees from 2007 till date were still being paid with the old pension payment chart instead of the new one being used for other tertiary institutions in the State.
“Those who retired from IMT between January 1, 2007 and June13, 2009 were paid HATISS instead of CONTISS I, while others who retired between July 1, 2009 to date were paid CONTISS I instead of CONTISS II, COMPCASS and CONTENDISS,” Mr. Idoko lamented.
Mr. Idoko, noted that they had made representation to the Management and Governing Council of the Institute and other top government officials in the State, including the Head of Service but were told that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had not authorised paying them with the new chart. He appealed to the Governor to direct that their pensions be paid with the approved salary scale by the Salaries and Wages Commission that had been adopted by the Enugu State Government.
The retired Deputy Registrar then appealed to the Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to direct the Establishment Unit in the office of the Head of Service to compute their pension with their last salary payment to be at par with other pensioners.
He lamented that the slashing of their pension have made majority of them to resort to begging in order to feed, foot medical bills as well as take care of other bills, and wondered why such a thing is affecting only IMT retirees.
“It is only the computation of pension of IMT retirees that are affected as that of their counterparts at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) are not affected,” Mr. Idoko pointed out.
Another retiree, Mr. Aaron Oloto, said life had been difficult for him while most of their members had died.
“Most of my colleagues cannot buy their drugs. Even I, myself, cannot buy drugs for my own eye problem and this is affecting other things in our lives and families,” Mr. Oloto cried out.
When contacted, the Chairman, Governing Council, IMT, Enugu, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, said it was not a matter for the Council to deal with, affirming that the pensioners had taken the matter to the Head of Service responsible for the issue.
Efforts by Radio Nigeria to get the reaction of the Enugu State Acting Head of Service, Mr. Kenneth Chukwegbo, was unsuccessful as he neither picked calls nor responded to a text message sent to him on the issue.