Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

From TCNEWS

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP Abia State chapter has expressed strong confidence that the issue of pension arrears owed them in the state would be history at the end of the first quarter of year 2024.

Interacting with our correspondent respectively in the NUP office in Umuahia, the Abia State Chairman of the Union, Elder Chukwuemeka Irondi; Elder Uma Kalu, Secretary and Rev. Canon Julius Ikpe, Public Relations Officer, also expressed optimism that a payment modality, which would be suitable for both the pensioners and the government would soon be agreed on.

Recall that Gov. Otti had at the start of his administration in May, assured that by December 2023, he would clear off the backlog of arrears owed pensioners in the state by previous administrations.

Otti who later addressed Abians in his New Year message titled “A Journey of Great Expectations”, said “It’s unfortunate to report that a few challenges have conspired to ensure that we were unable to keep this promise. Based on the figures available to us, we have arranged the funds to make good this promise.

“However, before making the payment, we decided to conduct a digital verification of the pensioners. To our utter shock, we found that there were pensioners who had been owed since 2014. To ensure that the verification exercise did not add extra burden to the already owed pensioners, we took it down to them at their respective wards.

“Those who were sick or too old, had their own verification taken to their houses. At the end of the exercise, just about a week ago, the total figure required for the payment was twice the amount we had provided. While we continue to engage the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, we believe we will be able to make the payment before the end of the first quarter of the new year. If required, we may go back to the house of assembly for necessary approvals to ensure that this payment is made”.

The NUP Abia Secretary described Gov. Otti as “Pensioners friendly governor”, who respects and has high regard for the senior citizens and the interest of the Pensioners at heart.

“It is unfortunate that pension arrears are not paid in Abia State but we are seeing a changed narrative in the administration of Gov. Otti and we are hopeful that he will keep to his words. He is doing what we have not being seeing before. The kind of regard and respect he has for the senior citizens, if the other governors have given us such hope and regard, most of us wouldn’t have died”, the Abia NUP scribe also said.

He gave the breakdown of the months of pension arrears owed pensioners, which totalled to about N30 billion as follows:

Year 2014  –  Five (5) months (From August to December);

Year 2015  – Four (4) months (From January to April);

Year 2018 – Twelve (12) months (From January to December);

Year 2019 – Eleven (11) months (From January to November);

Year 2021 –   ( From March, Pension payment made in percentage, the percent kept running down from 93 percent, 60 percent, 50 percent and down to 40 percent);

Year 2022 – Eight (8) months (From May to December);

Year 2023 – Five (5) months (From January to May).

The Union pointed out that the past administrations radicalized pension payment in the state, which created a room for the existence of a faceless group, operating as pensioners and also winning the gullible ones to their fold.

By NWAMARA

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