Abia Pensioners Disrupt May Day celebration
Beg Govt. To Pay Their 28 Months Pension
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, (NUP) Abia state chapter almost brought to an end the May day celebration at Ibeku High School, Umuahia, as they came out in their Numbers in black attire with working stick, kneeling down in front of the representative of the governor, Onyii Wamah who incidentally is the Head of Service weeping and begging the governor to pay them their 28 months pension arrears.
The May Day ceremony later continued after much begging from the organisers after which the pensioners in annoyance storm out of the event, the action of the pensioners elicited pity from workers
Speaking earlier to Journalists, the chairman of NUP, comrade Chukwuma Udensi expressed profound disappointment over the inexplicable silence of Abia state government on the payment of pension adding that the governor inherited salary arrears but himself have added 19 months making a total of 28 months unpaid pensions
He noted that pensioners observed that pension payment have degenerated from the situation of irregular payment to that of non payment for nearly two years now, and wondered whether the state government has deleted pension from it annual budget and monthly expenditure.
They however condemned the performance of the commissioner for finance Obinna Oriaku and commissioner for Local Government and chieftance Affairs Hon Christopher Eweremadu for their poor management of issues and failure to advice the governor properly and they urged the governor to remove them for their unfriendly disposition to workers.
In his speech, the governor who was represented by the Head of Service, sir Onyii Wamah lauded Abia workers for their resilient and their steadfastness to their services to the state.
He assured Abia workers that government would pay the new minimum wage and their would be nothing like Abia formula but assured of full implementation as he also promised to work with NLC to make Abia Workers happy.
In his speech the chairman of the occasion, Hon. Mandela Obasi, commended workers adding that all over the world workers are the engine house of any organisation "You contribution in nation building is enormous that cannot be over emphasized, the impact is clearly shown on the economy". Obasi said
He disclosed that he is an established business man who have over three hundred workers under him, "I have been able to impact on the society by ensuring that unemployment is reduced to the barest minimum , this has also brought some massive growth in my companies seeing how committed that is shown by workers".
Reading his speech, the state chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress comrade Uchenna Obigwe used the occasion to congratulate the governor for his victory in the last election and also commended workers for their commitment and patience in the face of non payment of salaries.
He revealed that the theme of this year's 'May Day is 100 years of struggle for jobs, dignity and social justice in Nigeria', he noted that a careful observation of this year May Day theme will attest that it was a carefully and well selected particularly in this time when most states of the federation find it difficult to pay salaries as at when due.
He critically analysis the indebtedness of salary arrears to include, ABSUTH Aba 12 months,Hospital Management Board 9 months, Secondary school teachers, 10 months, Abia Poly 13 months, Arochukwu Tech 15 months, ASUBEB 6 months, LGA 2/2 months, Abia college of Health Technology 13 months and pensioners 19- 25 months.
The NLC boss said instead of salary arrears to be reducing from one year to the another it is rather increasing meaning that the state government or the mangers of the financial resources are not doing well.
He regretted that pensioners are dying in their numbers as these people are not paid their pensions salaries and gratuities is up to 17 months while pension is over 16 years for gratuities, he noted that the situation is worst now.
He called on government to energize the lift system at the Nnamdi Azikiwe secretariat to avoid workers the stress of claiming the stair case, he however reminded the government on the need to complete the permanent secretariat project at Ogurube layout while they join other workers to thank the president for signing the 30.000 naira minimum wage.
Leading his voice the vice chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers Eze Okwolehie lauded Abia workers for coming out in numbers for the celebration of this year workers Day and congratulated comrade Obigwe and executive for emerging winners in their election that took place last week.
He urged workers to be patient with the state governor assuring that very soon salary arrears would be paid.