Okorocha ‘People who protested are not pensioners,’ Governor says

Some protesters alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha had not paid them their pensions in 77 months.

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Governor Rochas Okorocha play

Governor Rochas Okorocha

(Pulse)
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The Imo State government has said that the protesters who marched to the Government House on Thursday, January 5, were not pensioners.

Some protesters alleged that Governor Rochas Okorocha had not paid them their pensions in 77 months.

The government’s comments were contained in a statement released by Okorocha’s media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo.

The statement reads:

“No pensioner in the state was part of that protest. Those involved in the exercise were between the ages of 40-45. And we challenge those involved to prove us wrong by publishing their names, their autonomous communities, local government areas, years of retirement, where they retired from and their identification numbers.

“The truth of the matter as it concerns the issue of pensions in the state is that more than 99 percent of the pensioners in the state have been paid arrears of their pensions up to December 2016. The remaining one percent are pensioners who were omitted in the first payment exercise and they are at the moment receiving their cheques.

“The government had long before now complained that the monthly pension bill of N1.4 billion had become too cumbersome for the state government to bear with 27 local governments, whereas another state with 44 local governments pay far less than that amount as pension.

“Hence, the arrangement that pensioners from grade level one to six should get one hundred percent of whatever was the arrears of their respective pensions, while those on grade level seven to 17 would have 40 percent of their total arrears paid. The idea was to solve the lingering issue of pension arrears in the state once and for all.

“It is, therefore, surprising to see few people claiming to be pensioners at the Government House on a protest over an exercise that has been successfully completed.”

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The Imo State government had earlier said that it was finding it difficult to pay pensions.

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