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Pensioners in Abia State yesterday took to the streets to protest the backlog of pension arrears.
According to the senior citizens who marched through major streets chanting anti-government songs, the condition of pensioners in the state has deteriorated under the present administration.
The Eastern Updates reports that pensioners who said they were only paid one-quarter of their pension, claimed that they had been owed a cumulative of 45 months of pension arrears.
Accusing the Government of insensitivity to the plight of pensioners, the senior citizens said average of 10 pensioners die monthly across the state due to poor welfare package.
The pensioners appealed to Governor Ikpeazu ‘to show regard for elders’.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘Ikpeazu pay us our gratuity’; ‘Ikpeazu, be informed that many pensioners can no longer get medical care due to lack of money’; and ‘Ikpeazu, why should we vote your candidates in the midst of this wickedness against pensioners?’
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Addressing newsmen later, their new Coordinator, Chief Emeka Okezie, decried the condition of pensioners in the state and pleaded with Gov. Ikpeazu to stop hardening his heart against them.
He regretted that their Leader, Elder Dan Amugo had died due to lack of adequate care.
Chief Okezie who spoke with an emotion-laden voice, called on Abians to prevail on the State Government to show care to pensioners to reduce their mortality rate.
‘Our coordinator, Elder Dan Amugo is in the mortuary and will be buried soon.
‘A lot of us are in the mortuary, a lot of us are lying helplessly and no money to buy drugs.
‘Government of Abia State is owing the Abia pensioners a backlog of over 45 months unpaid pensions.
‘Throughout this year, they started giving us one-quarter of our monthly pay. Every three months we see one-quarter of our monthly pay in our account. That is all.’
‘We are the fathers; they are supposed to help us. Is it how it is done in other states?
‘We are suffering unimaginably. Why can’t this people help us?’
The leader of pensioners said that he would not stop demanding their rights despite intimidation by Government.