Magnus Eze, Enugu
Pensioners on the payroll of Enugu State Government, on Wednesday, paid a solidarity visit to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu, in appreciation of his commitment to their welfare, in spite of the nation’s economic challenges.
The jubilant retirees, who described Ugwuanyi as “one of the foremost pensioner-friendly governor the state has ever produced,” reassured him of their “absolute loyalty and support.”
In their address presented by the state Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Damian Udeani, the pensioners, who turned out in large number said the governor has “continued to pay us pensions regularly,” which they noted “is vital for our existence.”
They added that Ugwuanyi’s administration, in keeping with its commitment to their wellbeing, had approved the release of N100 million every month for the payment of the backlog of accumulated gratuities “most of which you inherited from past administrations.”
They equally noted and appreciated the governor for reconsidering a verification exercise for pensioners who did not participate in the programme in 2016, stating that “these and many other kind gestures were why we gave Your Excellency an ‘Award of Excellence’ last December.”
Commending Governor Ugwuanyi for entrenching peace, security and good governance in the state, the retirees said: “We shall not forget to mention that since you came on board, Enugu State has become the toast of people from other states.
“They regard Enugu as the most comfortable state among the Eastern states. People outside our state now spend their vacation in Enugu State. This is due to your good governance.”
Meanwhile, Ugwuanyi has announced that the government will soon adopt contributory pension system, even as he disclosed that his administration has spent about N6 billion annually in the past three years.
The governor said the state government was determined to plug all loopholes in the retirees’ welfare system and enthrone a seamless and transparent pension regime that will ease the burden of the senior citizens while also ridding the system of corruption. He also assured that government would commence implementation once the committee set up for that purpose finished working out modalities for the adoption of the contributory pension scheme.
According to him, the state’s pension bill has risen to over N500 million per month, up from an average of N200 million under the previous administration, adding that his administration has ensured the capture of a larger number of retired civil servants in the pensions safety net.