Chief Abia Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation in Ebonyi, has decried the non-payment of his monthly pension and other retirement benefits by Ebonyi Government. Onyike, who retired from the state civil service after 35 years of service, alleged that he has not been paid his pension since June 2020.
The former commissioner made the disclosure in a press statement he issued on Monday in Abakaliki. He said he might be compelled to institute a legal action to compel the state government to pay all arrears of pension owed him.
Onyike, who is also former Deputy National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), had alleged that Gov. Dave Umahi, through an oral directive to Ebonyi Ministry of Finance directed the stoppage of his statutory monthly pension. He also alleged that the governor had blocked the payment of his gratuity since 2015, subjecting him to horrible financial trauma.
He said, “If by the end of this year the government continues to withhold my hard-earned and legitimate entitlements, I shall be left with no option than to take legal action. I joined the civil service in February, 1980 under the administration of late Gov. Sam Mbakwe of old Imo. I retired untainted as Director of Information after 35 years of meritorious service in Ebonyi in August. 2014,’’ Onyike said.
However, Mr Uchenna Orji, the State’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation in a reaction, said that Onyike’s claim that government has stopped payment of his pension was spurious and lacked any iota of truth. Orji said that neither the governor nor any other authority in the state stopped Onyike from receiving his pension or any of his retirement statutory benefits.
He further explained that the process of receiving pension in the state was well known, and stressed that all pensioners in the state go through these processes.
He said “The truth of the matter is that nobody stopped or gave any directive to stop him from receiving his pension or entitlements. The process of receiving pension in the state is known and if he fails; refuses or neglects to undergo process of automation and all the necessary documentation processes; then, who will be the person to blame,’’ Orji said.
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