Imo Government has declared that those who protested over pensions payment, yesterday, were sponsored, just as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), dissociated themselves from protesters.
Both the NLC chairman, Austin Chilakpu and his NUP counterpart, Dr J .B Ugochukwu were categorical that those who staged the protests were mercenaries as the unions had been in talks with government to find a solution to the delay occasioned by irregularities in the pension scheme.
Their disclaimer came as Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, accused a cabal of fraudulent activities in the pension scheme whereby only eight people were collecting N330 million annually among other anomalies. “Discrepanciwere discovered in the norminal roll of pensioners. First the government did not inherit any comprehensive pensions list. The one we got from the office of head of service had many discrepancies. Some pensioners names appeared in multiple places with different amount of payments. Many did not have BVN numbers, many used account numbers already used by other pensioners. So much discrepancy” the Commissioner said
In their statements in Owerri the union leaders said they could not have authorised protests when they were in dialogue with government to resolve the discrepancies.
According to Chilakpu, NLC was aware of government’s genuine desire to sanitise the pension scheme which caused the delay in the payment. He said it was inconceivable that the union could be talking with government and still ask people to protest at the same time.