While some persons who addressed themselves as Imo pensioners took to the streets of Owerri yesterday in protesting non-payment of pension, the Nigeria Labour Congress has disowned them, pointing out that the said people were not Imo pensioners.
This is even as the state government has re-affirmed its readiness to prompt payment of pension and salaries.
In their statements in Owerri, the union leaders said they could not have authorised protests when they were in dialogue with the government to resolve the discrepancies.
According to Comrade Chilakpu, NLC was aware of the government’s genuine desire to sanitise the pension scheme which caused the delay in the payment. He said it was inconceivable that the union could be talking with the government and still ask people to protest at the same time.
Imo State Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma has reiterated his commitment to the payment of pensioners in the state.
The Governor did on Tuesday when a group under the auspices of Imo Pensioners Association led a peaceful protest to the Government House, Owerri, to appeal to Governor Uzodimma to fast-track the processes he has put in place to clear the backlog of pensions being owed them.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmas Iwu, Governor Uzodimma reminded the retirees that the delay in the payment of their pensions was majorly due to discrepancies in their names and challenges relating to payment vouchers.
Governor Uzodimma said discrepancies were discovered in the pension’s payroll system inherited by the current administration. “Some pensioners names appeared twice with different amount of money and even BVN numbers.”
He promised that the solution to the problem is almost completed and urged the pensioner to exercise a little more patience so that the problem can be solved once and for all.
He appealed to them not to be too aggrieved against the government as the temporary delay is to put things straight and ensure that the right persons get what belongs to them.
The Governor regretted that the process of cleaning up the mess in the State pension payment has lingered unexpectedly, but assured that he was not resting in his oars to ensure that he puts a smile on the faces of the pensioners.
Governor Uzodimma thanked them for the peaceful protest and for exhibiting maturity and elderly disposition for which they are known. He prayed for all of them to be alive to continue in their fatherly and motherly advice to the State.
Earlier, Leader of the pension association, Comrade Iyke Ohaneje read out a catalogue of the challenges the members have been having as a result of the delay in the payment.
He said they chose the option of the peaceful protest having written several letters to the authorities on the need to invite them for negotiation and clarification on what is actually delaying the payment of their pensions.
Comrade Ohaneje said they were not necessarily moving around Owerri to be paid their pensions, but “to beg for food and money which they hope to use in helping the poorest of the poor among them.”
He pleaded with the government to urgently come to their rescue as many of them have become vulnerable as a result of lack of money to attend to their basic needs.
He said 49 of their members have died in the past four months, saying the situation is actually pathetic and disheartening. He appealed to the government to see the reason to pay them.
Meanwhile, the Imo State President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Austin Chilakpu, has dissociated the Labour Union from any protest by pensioners in the State.
In a statement in Owerri Tuesday, Chilakpu said the NLC has been dialoguing with the State Government on the pension issue and was aware that there were still a number of contentious entries on the pension payroll which the government is sorting out to ensure a comprehensive clean pensioners’ list. He also said the government has assured Labour that all outstanding pensions will be paid soon.
He said the NLC will soon address the public on the rot in the pension scheme and appealed to the pensioners to exercise a little patience because he was sure that the issues will soon be resolved and outstanding pensions paid.
He, however, emphasized that the Union was not in support of protests because the pensioners may unwittingly make themselves vulnerable for infiltration by those who do not mean well for them, adding that the protesters did get approval from neither NLC nor the police to embark on any protests.
BREAKING: Army renames Operation Lafiya Dole in North-East
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, has approved the renaming of the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the North-East from Operation Lafiya Dole to Operation Hadin Kai, the Nigerian Army has said.
This was contained in statement on Friday signed by Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima.
The statement was titled, ‘Nigerian Army Renames Operation In The North East, Seeks Inclusiveness’.
It read, “The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru has approved the renaming of the ongoing Counterinsurgency Operation in the North East from Operation Lafiya Dole to Operation Hadin Kai.
“This is premised on the fact that the Nigerian Army has made a lot of progress over the years and needs to re-align for better efficiency.
“Also affected in the re-designation are the Army Super Camps which now reflect the nomenclature of the formations and units followed by the name of the locations they occupy while sub-units are redesigned as Forward Operating Bases followed by the name of their locations. All these changes are with immediate effect.
“The renaming is in line with the COAS Vision of having ‘A Nigerian Army that is Repositioned to Professionally Defeat all Adversaries in a Joint Environment’.
BREAKING: Five dead as gunmen set ablaze Imo police area command
Tension heightened in Imo State, on Monday, as unknown gunmen razed the Okigwe South Police Area Command situated in Orieagu in the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.
A police officer at the headquarters, who spoke to our correspondent in the evening, said that on arrival, the gunmen opened fire on the cops who challenged them.
It was learnt that the invaders freed all the suspects in the cells and carted away arms.
The source said that no fewer than five policemen were shot dead by the attackers as they torch the security facility.
The source said, “Our area command headquarters in Okigwe south is on fire. Six policemen shot dead. They also freed the suspects before igniting a fire on the facility.”
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said that five policemen were killed while one was missing during the attack.
He disclosed that the command had launched an investigation into the onslaught.
Uzodinma’s guest house set ablaze
Guest House of Imo state Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma was this morning set ablaze.
Information to the Lead Newspapers revealed that yet to be identified group of men stormed the House of a suspected IPOB member at Awomama in Oru East LGA, the country home of the Governor for possible arrest and allegedly set his House ablaze when they could not see him.
The said group allegedly set ablaze another HOUSE belonging to the younger brother of same suspected IPOB member.
Upon hearing this, group of gun men stormed the scene and when they could not find the said persons responsible for the act, they proceeded to the Governor’s house where they shot sporadically and set ablaze the Governor’s guest house Lead gathered.
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