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Rivers: SSG, Education, Finance Commissioners Escape Attack

The Rivers State chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, has besieged the offices of the Commissioner of Finance, Director of Finance and the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Rivers State, over unpaid pensions and allowances for a period of time.

While at the Commissioner of Finances office; the state senior citizens were locked out by the staff of the ministry, who citied the presence of the pensioners within the premises.

At the SSG’s office, the pensioners in their numbers who trooped in to the office were confronted by the driver to the SSG, whose unguided conduct infuriated the senior citizens, caused serious pandemonium in the protocol of the SSG.

However, Dame Mrs. Alice Nemi, Commissioner for Education, Rivers State, who walked in to see the SSG, met the angry pensioners, took to her heels when the senior citizens tried to stop her and express their ordeal to her.

Shortly after the Commissioner’s take off, over five armed mobile police men of the Counter Terrorism Unit, CTU, were deployed to the reception of the state SSG, to chase out everyone at the scene.

The pensioners were not perturbed by the presence of police men at the point block as they continued to chant their labour songs. The ASP who led the police men, appealed to the pensioners to be clam, saying that he was told that some youths were at the SSG’s office, to ferment trouble. The police ASP, however pleaded with the pensioners to go home, as he will do anything within his reach to send their message across to the appropriate quarters, since the SSG was not on hand to address their problem.

Pensioners who were informed of the presence of the SSG in his office, resolved to obey the police officer, telling him that they will allow the state government two working days, from Thursday 23rd – Friday 25th April, 2015 to have the full payment of their four months pensions and other pension increase allowances paid to them.

Comrade Joseph J. Agbo, state secretary, NUP, who addressed the media and pensioners, shortly after leaving SSG’s office, said they will be back in their numbers of about 5,000, to lock up the state secretariat, come Monday, 27th April, 2015 to demand for their payment.

Meanwhile, as the government of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s led administration in Rivers State is about winding up, the Rivers State chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, has called on the state governor to pay up the 3 months monthly pension allowances that is due to its members, since January, 2015, till date.

According to Comrade Edward Festus-Abibo, state chairman of NUP in a press release which he signed alongside Comrade Joseph J. Agbo, state secretary of NUP, stated that the union had lost two of its members in their last two protests, before they were last paid in the month of December, 2014.

The statement further said: “it is unbelievable that Rivers State Government owes pensioners when politicians and other workers had been paid up to March, 2015”.

The release further noted: “Before we were paid December, 2014 we protested twice and lost two of our members during the protests. What an ugly situation. Presently, some of our members had been sent to their early grave because of lack of medical care and starvation”.

Abibo, in the statement maintained that pensioners are being owed 6% with effect from 1st October, 2013 and 15% with effect from 1st July, 2007.

He pointed out that these increases had been computed and sent to the governor for approval and onward release of fund to the state senior citizens, since two years ago.

The NUP boss opined that another pension increase of 33 percent had been approved with effect from 1st July, 2010, adding that the state government is yet to implement it.

Abibo however, called on the state governor, Rt. Hon. Amaechi to pay up the 3 months pensions and other outstanding pension increases from 2003, before he leaves office on the 29th of May, 2015.

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