We are starving, pensioners tell Okorocha

IMO STATE, NIGERIA – Retired civil servants in Imo State operating on the platform of Retired Permanent Secretaries have accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of subjecting the members of the body to starvation.

The group said the refusal of the state government to pay pensioners their 70-month arrears had made them to undergo dehumanising situations.

The Chairman of the group, Hyacinth Onyekwere, said that contrary to the claim by the government, only 70 per cent of one month arrear had been paid to the state’s pensioners.

Onyekwere, who addressed a news conference in Owerri, on Tuesday, said the inability of the government to pay Imo pensioners their arrears had resulted in starvation and sickness.

He said the pensioners could no longer afford to buy drugs for their ailments.

“Most pensioners are now subjected to untold hardship. Many of us are now unable to meet our statutory obligations such as the renewal of our vehicle licences. We cannot afford to pay for the social amenities we enjoy. We are starving. We are traumatised on a daily basis. We are dehumanised daily,” he said.

He said that the non-payment of pensions had drastically reduced the circulation of money into the economy of the state, adding that that this had compounded the problems of poverty, starvation and unemployment in the state.

“All we are saying is for the Imo State Government to pay our pensions as and when due to save our lives and those of our dependants. The payment of pensions is, by law, the responsibility of the offices of the Head of Service and the Accountant General of the state. But in Imo State, the case is different. This is why many pensioners were neither listed on the payroll accurately nor paid,” the retiree lamented.

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