Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ebonyi State Council on Friday appealed to Ebonyi State government to stop the illegal 1% statutory deduction from pensioners with which is used to fund a body known as Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries.
The senior citizens made the appeal in Abakaliki during the South-East zonal meeting of the union held in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State on Friday.
Mr. Nwofe Donatus Okemini, Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners in his address said that the deduction has been going on for many years and it is very important the issue is addressed so that it will not degenerate beyond the state.
Okemini used the medium to call on the leadership of NUP in the zone to address the challenge facing the union in the state.
He said, “When this zonal meeting was held here on 25 May 2018 we informed you that 1% statutory dedication from pensioners’ pension is illegally deducted and paid to an illegal body called Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries. You made a big promise that it must be drastically tackled but since then till now we have not heard from you the attempt you made.
“We want the zonal forum to take a stand on the matter because the issue may degenerate and rear its ugly head to other states of the South East region.
The senior citizens commended Governor David Umahi for keeping to date in the payment of their pension and urged him to commence the payment of gratuities to the retired civil servants in the state.
Zonal Chairman of the Union Mr. E. C Udensi in his remarks, noted that the deduction was not peculiar to Ebonyi State but assured that the zonal body is working to end the deduction and other challenges facing the union members.
Mr. L. Ashiegbu, Zonal Secretary of the union on his part, said the union in the Ebonyi council should use dialogue to convince the state government to take the necessary action and promote the welfare of the pensioners.
He emphasized that all the arrears owed by the state government will be completed and that none would be skipped because the workers served the state government very well before bowing out of office.
The union members lamented that states like Abia are owing to the pensioners over 9 months while in Enugu state, some pensioners are being paid #1800 in a month yet the money doesn’t come as and when due making the pensioners die of agony and pain on daily basis.
Hannah Ibiam Nkechinyere, Vice Chairman of the union, in her contribution, explained that since the national body of NUP has written to the Senate and House of Representatives for approval of 80% minimum pension, such should be replicated at the state level when it is approved.
“We don’t have minimum pension, the national body should intensify effort to see that the National Assembly implements the minimum pension for an increase in our pension because it is constitutional that whenever civil servants’ salary is increased, there should be increase in pension.
“They have written to the Senate and House of Representatives so we are pleading that when it is implemented, the state should replicate same because some pensioners are collecting #1500 in a month as a take-home pension but if implemented the 80% will be enough for them”.
Chairman NUP Ohaozara, Chief Ugwu Idenyi, noted that the state government is doing well but the government should pay them the 142% arrears of 67 months which was owed by the government since more than 10 years now.
He said it was the increment made in 2001 some states have paid but Ebonyi has not paid them.