May 2, 2022

NLC berates Abia Govt for inflicting pains, hardship on pensioners

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, have blasted the Abia State Government for inflicting untold hardship, pains and suffering on the state’s senior citizens by refusing to pay their arrears and backlog of pensions and other benefits for over three years. 

This came as the aggrieved retirees stormed the streets of Umuahia, the state capital to protest the backlog of unpaid benefits, lamenting that they have also not received their gratuities for the past 20 years.

Leaders of NLC in a communique issued by Ayuba Wabba and Emmanuel Ugboaja, President and General- Secretary of NLC respectively, at the end of their Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting in Abuja, which incidentally coincided with the pensioners’ protest in Umuahia,  ”calls on the Abia State Government to immediately clear the backlog of pension arrears owed retirees in the state. The CWC calls on all employers of labour to respect the sanctity of work by ensuring prompt payment of workers’ salaries and entitlements.”

Meanwhile, the pensioners, under the auspices of Concerned Abia Pensioners, CAP, during the protest marched through the major streets of Umuahia and later stormed the Government House.


The aggrieved senior citizens accused Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration of being insensitive to their health and welfare in the midst of socio-economic hardship in the country and begged the government to take immediate and practical steps to clear the pension arrears and the outstanding gratuities.

They displayed placards with different inscriptions, such as: Abia pensioners: Monthly payment for 38 months now and Non-payment of gratuity since 2002.

Other inscriptions were: Let governor cut his security vote and pay pensioners, Why is Abia Government so wicked? and Stop payment of half pensions.

They decried the government’s delay in domesticating the Federal Government’s harmonised pensions in Abia.

Speaking at the Government House, Coordinator of CAP, Emeka Okezie, among others, said: “We have been dehumanised and subjected to unimaginable sufferings. The death toll of our members ranges from 10 to 15 persons every month. This is due to the unavailability of funds to meet their personal and health needs,” Okezie said.

Responding on behalf of the government, Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, said pension remained the right of every retiree, noting that the government was focused on improving the welfare of the pensioners.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Finance, Aham Uko, said a recent forensic exercise conducted by the government on the pensioners’ payroll exposed 4,422 irregular names.

“The discovery showed that gratuities attached to the irregular names on the payroll amounted to over N6 billion,” Mr Uko said, adding that the exercise did not only save the government from wasting its resources but would also enable it to pay the genuine pensioners.

He called for collaboration between the leadership of the pensioners and the government to ensure that the irregular names were expunged from the payroll before the gratuity and pensions would be paid.

Mr Uko promised that the payment of pensions in the state would henceforth be regular.

Some pensioners, according to him, have started receiving their pensions and, by Friday, more would be paid.