By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Thousands of pensioners, who thronged their pay points in the 27 local government areas, went home disappointed, yesterday, as no government official was on hand to either pay or address them on when they would get their unpaid pensions and gratuities.
Vanguard gathered that the movement of the pensioners followed several radio announcements signed by the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Sir George Eche, asking the affected retirees to present themselves at their pay points for verification and payment.
Vanguard gathered that the radio announcements, which preceded the earlier planned second round of demonstration, made the senior citizens temporarily shelve the exercise.
Reports from all the local council areas of the state showed that the pensioners gathered in their numbers, at all the pay points, as early as 7.30am, even as they hoped that the end of their suffering was in sight.
When Vanguard visited the Orie Uratta headquarters of Owerri North local council area, a pensioner, who simply identified himself as Chief Okey, wondered why the government rolled out the announcement when they were not ready to attend to the frail and famished old men and women.
“For goodness sake, how can the governor be dribbling old, frail, famished and sick people like this? What is most baffling is that the impression he creates outside the state is that all is well with us. This is most unfair to God and humanity”, Chief Okey lamented.
Vanguard recalls that only last week, the retirees grounded vehicular and economic activities in Owerri, to press home their demand for payment of their pension and gratuity.
As at the last count, pensioners of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, are owed 36 months arrears of pension.