By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, has said it was “hard” for his government to pay 1.4billion monthly pension to pensioners in the state.
Okorocha revealed this in a release issued to newsmen Sunday, in Owerri, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodor.
In the release, the governor also stated:”my government has redeemed the promise to pay pensioners in the state their arrears upto December 2016, by releasing all the cheques to that effect, for the pensioners.”
It further stated that “the cheques were released Thursday, December 29, 2016 night, to the Sate Development Centre (SDC) Coordinators in the 305 wards in the state” adding that it was to “save inconveniences of spending money and time to come to Owerri for their cheques.”
However, Okorocha did not hide to tell his experience in handling the issue of payment of pension in the state.
According to the release,”the governor remains exceptionally grateful to the pensioners in the state for their understanding and outstanding patriotism.”
He added:”for appreciating the glaring fact that a monthly pension bill of N1.4 billion was quite unimaginable and too hard for the state or any other state in the country to bear no matter the resources of such state.”
It was the view of Okorocha as captured in the release that”he allowed every pensioner, whether real or otherwise to be paid so that by January 2017, the issue of ghost pensioners can be properly handled.”
He also argued that”It is difficult to believe that Imo with twenty-seven local governments will be paying N1.4billion monthly as pension, while another state with forty-four local governments will be paying half of that amount on the same subject matter.”