Some pensioners in Abia State on Wednesday May 1st protested at the venue of the Workers Day celebration in Abia State over the non-payment of their 28 month pension arrears.
The pensioners, who attended the event as members of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), dressed in black, suddenly trooped out and occupied the field around the area where important dignitaries were seated and just about the time when the representative of Governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Sir Onyii Wamah, Head of Service, had mounted the stage for the March past to begin.
The pensioners held banners and placards with inscriptions like “Stop this mercy killing and gross tyranny, pay pension, gratuity;” “Pension payment is now a taboo in Abia State,” among others. The pensioners then sat on the floor and refused to return to their seats despite pleas that they should return to their seats by the Master of Ceremony.
Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Uchenna Obigwe, a former State NLC Chairman, Barr. ACB Agbazuere and some top Abia State government functionaries pleaded to the pensioners before they reluctantly accepted to return to their seats.
Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Comrade Chukwuma Udensi, said the State government has not been fair to its pensioners and the protest was intended to draw public attention to the plight of pensioners in Abia State.
Udensi said: “We are being owed 19 months now, added to the nine months owed us by the past administration, which will amount to 28 months.
“We go to the same market with the civil servants. He has paid civil servants up to March 2019 but he is owing pensioners since September 2017″.
“Our members have been dying and nobody takes care of us, what do we do? We are protesting to appeal to the conscience of society to see what we are going through. Let them help us,”
“We call on Abia Government to pay pensioners of Abia, because most of our colleagues have died due to unpaid retirement benefits”.