George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The Chairman of Imo state Council of Traditional Rulers ( Eze Imo) and the Obi of Orodo Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri have described as shameful and disappointing, the wilful refusal of ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha to pay pensioners in the state their pension and gratuities during his regime.
This is just as he has applauded Governor Emeka Ihedioha for not only keeping his promise to commence the payment of a backlog of pension arrears to pensioners in the state but equally paid them 100 percent.
Speaking to newsmen at his palace in Owerri on Saturday Eze Imo accused Okorocha of not being sincere about the pension payment, saying that Okorocha played politics with the welfare and wellbeing of pensioners in the state.
He said: “Before this present administration, there was an unending verification exercises of pensioners in the state and for me I felt like the government was kind of playing games with our senior citizens and that wasn’t right.
“Every opportunity I had then, I made it known to the governor and the government that they needed to take care of those our senior citizens but nothing came out of it.
“I want to thank God Almighty that finally something is being done through His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. I have to say that in honesty and sincerity, I am happy that at this point that our pensioners are beginning to see some lights at the end of the tunnel.”
The monarch also commend the transparent process which was adopted by the present administration to truly ascertain the accurate numbers of pensioners, saying that was lacking in the previous years in the state under the past administration.
Eze Imo said: “Also, before now, some of the problems that we had or some of the complaints I received as the Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers from those pensioners included that every month the government could decide to pay them arbitrary figures.
“Somebody that was supposed to get N70, 000 or N60, 000 was paid N13, 000 or N15, 000. And nobody knew how government came about those figures – whether it was 13% of the person’s allowance or whatever. And they couldn’t go to anybody to get answers to those questions.
“But now I thank God that the government has begun to pay them 100%. So I want to say that I have good faith in the exercise that has just been concluded and I believe it was sincere, honest and reliable.”