Retired Civil Servants in Rivers State have given two months deadline for Rivers State government to pay off all the outstanding gratuities of pensioners.
Failure for Government to meet up with the deadline will lead to legal action, they stated.
The State leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners also threatened to shutdown the state in protest if Governor NYESOM WIKE fails to make the welfare of pensioners a project to ameliorate the suffering of pensioners in the state.
Reacting to the alleged statement credited to Governor WIKE at flag-off of road construction at Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government on 23rd December last year where the Governor denied that the state government was owing the pensioners, the State Chairman of Pensioners, EDWARD FESTUS-ABIDO said it was not true that the pensioners are not being owed their pensions and gratuities.
Rising from a state Congress of the Union, FESTUS-ABIDO pointed out that over fifteen years since the review of pension increase rates and initial pension arrears by National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, none have been paid.
FESTUS-ABIDO complained that every effort to draw the attention of the Governor to the pliant state of the pensioners have proved abortive just as he insisted that if Rivers State Government fails to pay the pensioners entitlements on or before March, “be ready to meet us at the court.”
“Rivers State government is the only government that has refused to pay attention to the increase in pension rate since fifteen years now,
“the Union is very much in shock of Governor Wike’s statement, we want to categorically state that the state government is owing pensioners of the state, respect they say is reciprocal, no matter how much level one has attained in life, honour should be given to whom honour is due.
“some of us trained most of the political leaders, so it is injustice and inhuman for the senior citizens not to be paid their pension entitlements and be respected.
FESTUS-ABIDO who lamented over untold hardship been experienced by the pensioners also called for a review of the contributory pension scheme which he said was not favorable to pensioners.
Our correspondent gathered that putting together all the increases in pension rate since 1999, Rivers State government is expected to pay fifty billion naira to pensioners including those who have just been included on the pay roll by the state government.