Inspite of the social distancing and sit at home directives of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and a total lockdown and 6am to 6pm curfew order imposed on Imo State as part of measures to mark his One Hundred Days in Office, authorities of the state have embarked on another rigorous round of personal identification and verification exercise of pensioners in Imo State without due notice to the people concerned.
Hundreds of the frail and very weak elder statesmen/women in Owerri metropolis were seen trekking last Monday, April 20, 2020, while trooping to a centre at Nwodo Street by Samuel Njemanze Primary School for the exercise while their counterparts from Owerri North were seen gathering at the home of one of their leaders at Umukehi Orji to complete their personal date forms.
Reports from the local government headquarters like Ehime Mbano indicate that the pensioners leaders have received some forms for the members to fill. No date has been fixed for the exercise.
When contacted phone,the Secretary of the Retired Permanent Secretary Association, Comrade F.I Agba, confirmed that he has been informed of the exercise but added that none of the Retired Permanent Secretaries would feature in the exercise. He had previously told the authorities of how to verify pensioners without the rigorous process and stress inflicted on people and asked our reporter to get more clear information from leaders of pensioners in the state.
The government on its part has started random sample payment online to some selected individuals for the month of March 2020, saying that April 2020 pensions will be for only those captured in the ongoing secret verification exercise.
Attempts to get the state Chairman of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Imo State chapter, Dr J.U Ugochukwu to comment on the development proved abortive as his telephone line was busily engaged.