Anambra State retirees will soon embark on hunger strike to compel governor Willie Obiano to pay their gratuities of over four years.
The state chairman of pensioners, Anambra State Mr Anthony Ugozor made this known in a statement made available to our reporter in Awka, the Anambra state capital on Monday .
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According to him, the state government is owing pensioners in the state four years arrears of gratuities.
Ugozor said the retirees would hold a meeting early next year to take a decision on the matter.
“We don’t know what again to do on this. You know we are longer in active service, so government is treating our matter with levity because it knows we can no longer embark on industrial dispute.
“We may consider hunger strike after our meeting. The only problem we may have about hunger strike is whether it will be detrimental to our health at our age. But members will decide that in our next meeting.
Pension is not all that we need
“I got my December pension before Christmas. We thank Governor Willie Obiano for that; he pays pension regularly,but pension is not all that the pensioners need. We are dying in piecemeal, the governor should pay us our gratuities” he said.
He said since 2017 , the state government had not paid any retiree in the state gratuity .
“That was what I said a few days ago that attracted unfair comments against me from government’s officials. They were not comfortable with me about my comment; but what I said was the truth.
“There is arrears of four years of gratuities in Anambra. The payment of gratuities stopped in Anambra in 2017.
No retiree in the state of 2017,2018,2019,2020, has received gratuity.
“So, it worried me so much that I had to address the press on the matter. Some government officials were not happy with me, but they can’t stop me from saying the truth.
History will not judge me well
“If I don’t say the truth at my age , history will not judge me well.
“Harmonisation of pensions have not been done in this state since 2010, despite the fact that we’re contacting with government, discussing with them; writing to them; even in official state functions , I would include such demands in my official addresses.
“Paying pension as and when due will not stop me from talking about other entitlements of pensioners which the governor is not paying. The situation in Anambra State till date is that there is four years arrears of gratuity; harmonisation of pension not done and review of pensions every five years or whenever their is review of workers’ salary, whichever comes earlier, is not done.
Nothing was given
“In 2010 their was review of workers’ salaries by way of N18,000 minimum wage – nothing was given to pensioners.
“In 2015, there was enhancement of workers’ salaries by Obiano, nothing was given to pensioners; and again, 2020, there was another review of workers’ salary by way of N30,000 national minimum wage and nothing again was given to pensioners.
So, why should I keep quiet?”, Ugozor questioned.