By Ifeanyi Raymond
Imo pensioners have reacted to the incessant verification exercises embarked upon by the state government lamenting the inconveniences that they are subjected to which at the end produces no result.
They made their views known in the latest-ongoing exercise at the office of the Head of Service, Imo State Secretariat, Owerri.
Government it would be recalled had instituted another round of verification exercise aimed at fishing out ghost pensioners following complaints among pensioners on the refusal to pay. Earlier, the government had published names of those paid insisting that no pensioner was left out.
News Echo monitoring the exercise spoke to some, majority of who expressed same views bothering on the inconveniences, incompetence and insincerity of government on the issue.
A pensioner who spoke on condition of anonymity criticised the poor approach and organisation of said exercise.
According to her, “I retired in 2014 and the state government stopped paying me from March of 2020 till date. I find it difficult even to feed and my husband is also a pensioner facing same ordeal. Every month since this government came to office, we have been asked to come and fill one form or the other all to no avail and we are here again today.
“All these started when Rochas Okorocha stopped paying pensioners almost immediately before leaving office and the then newly-elected government of Emeka Ihedioha was in the process of rectifying the issue before he was removed but the current government of Uzodimma has made it worse.”
She also pleaded with the governor to come to their aid by paying what is due to them and refrains from announcing he has paid all workers and pensioners in the state when he hasn’t.
Another pensioner who simply gave his name as Dr. Madu said he came for the exercise around 9am and was issued a form by 2pm after standing on long queues. According to him he has been coming for such exercise almost on a monthly basis and nothing has come out of it.
“What we are doing now is the same with what we have been doing before. I retired from the State Ministry of Works and Transport in 2019 and I’m yet to receive a dime as pension. This pension is the reason most people venture into civil service so as to still be paid after retirement but not in the case of Imo State. This is money I worked for over 30 years in service,” he lamented.
One of News Echo’s columnists, Mrs Justina who is also a pensioner and a retired Physics teacher from the State Education Management Board (SEMB) narrating her experience at the exercise for Owerri zone yesterday (Thursday) said she has been without salary upon her retirement two years ago. She pleaded with the governor to heed the cries of pensioners in the state and make this the last of such exercise towards receiving their pensions.