Hoodlums assaulted pensioners at the Imo State Government House in Owerri, the state capital, today, Tuesday 03 August 2020, during the protest of their five months unpaid pension and gratuities. This makes it the 5th time in around a month that the pensioners have been protesting the nonpayment of their pensions and gratuities by the state government.
Trouble started when thugs with canes formed a barricade, stopping the pensioners from approaching the Government House’s main gate, the pensioners proceeded further and they were flogged by the thugs. Shortly afterwards, a detachment of police operatives led by an assistant commissioner of police, AJ Moses, arrived at the scene and dispersed the thugs.
The police chief then appealed to the pensioners urging them to work with the appropriate government authority but the pensioners told him that they had exhausted all avenues of reconciliation with the government, accusing the government of being insensitive to their plights.
One of the pensioners, a secondary school principal who retired in 2011 said, “Thugs were flogging us their, fathers and mother. I pity them because they have dug their graves. At Warehouse junction, when we were coming, they accosted us and were pouring water on us. This has never happened in this state before. The monies we worked for and the government is sending urchins, idiots and never do wells to assault people who are old enough to be their fathers, mothers, and grandparents.”
In response to the events, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on print media, Modestus Nwamkpa, said that thugs did not actually flog the pensioners, but he admitted that the state government was frowning at illegal protests in the state. He said the government had discovered that most of the protesters were ‘ghost pensioners’ who were being used by the opposition politicians to discredit the performances of the government.