Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Hope has finally come for Imo State pensioners as Governor Emeka Ihedioha has promised to pay over 30,000 of them who are documented in the biometric database for state workers.
According to the governor, who was represented by his Technical Adviser and Chairman of the verification exercise, Paschal Madu, during a press briefing on Wednesday, noted that the exercise would receive an accelerated attention after which payments would commence.
With the committee having about two weeks to round off, Madu disclosed that not until it has finished its extraction of files of the pensioners, capturing and verification would payments begin.
The committee chairman, who said that the state governor is eager to pay the pensioners their due to save them from the agony they had passed through under previous administrations, disclosed that 13,515 pensioner files have been treated.
Explaining the essence of the biometric database, Madu pointed out that the exercise would help in the accurate compilation of the beneficiaries, while at the same time closing the door for ghost workers.
He assured that no file would be left untreated even as disclosed that files were collected from civil servants that have served the state since 1976.
With the exercise, pensioner anxieties have been allayed, putting a rest to rumours that their files were being discarded.
Meanwhile, responding shortly after the inspection of the materials, state chairmen of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Sir Josiah Ugochukwu and Austin Chilakpo respectively expressed satisfaction with the “genuine effort” on part of the government to do good by the state pensioners.
They, however, appealed to them to exercise patience with the government, pointing out that with what they have seen on ground, they are optimistic it would not take long for them to be paid.
“From what we observed today, we are satisfied and better informed of what the government is doing. We commend the governor because he has started and starting of anything is not very easy,” Ugochukwu said
“He has to lay the foundation and build on that foundation. There is no doubt he has started well. He has said he loves the pensioners and we can see he that is making genuine effort to carry us along.
On his part, Chilakpo said “Let us have hope and continue to believe in the government because from what we have seen, the governor and the present government have the pensioners at heart.”