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The crisis of pension arrears currently rocking two South-East states may have taken another dimension as confusion has engulfed the plans of the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to short change pensioners while the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has expressed worry over paucity of fund to settle arrears built up by past administration.
In the case of Imo State, contrary to earlier publicized boosts by Governor Okorocha that he has started the clearance of over 30 months pension arrears owed retirees in the state, the pensioners have in unison, rejected payments, saying the level of cuts in their payments can best be described as the scam of the century.
Some of the pensioners who spoke to our Correspondent in Owerri painted the crafty scenario applied by the government to rob them off their hard earned pension arrears.
The summary of their presentations showed that their real pension seemed to have been cut by more than 60 per cent and they were forced to sign an undertaking that they collected full pension.
Whereas some of them had signed waiting for the payment of the slashed money, their leadership came to the realization that they had been grossly short changed.
Some of them gave a graphic analysis of the scam saying by the arrangement of the state government which was done without their consent, a pensioner that is suppose to get a total of N400,000 will now receive less than N150,000 and will have to sign that he or she had collected all the pension arrears owed him or her.
The bubble got burst when their leadership objected to the scam and rejected the entire arrangement saying they cannot accept anything less than what they are being owed.
Currently, no payment had been made and the government, according to some of the pensioners has not expressed readiness to come to terms with the pensioners.
As it now, unless there is a federal government intervention, Imo pensioners may not celebrate the end of the year with their pension money, contrary to Okorocha’s boost that he will be the first governor to clear all arrears of pension in the country.
Majority of the scam victims are retied Primary and secondary Schools teachers. It would be recalled that few months ago, Imo pensioners had blocked major roads in Owerri, the state capital in protest to their over 30 month’s arrears.
In Enugu State, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi decried that “The effect of pension and gratuities on us are so high and more than any other state in the region and this arises from the status of the Coal City as the headquarters of the former eastern region”.
“Today, there is no money to meet some of these obligations and many more but the masses do not want to hear that,” the governor noted.
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