Thousands of pensioners numbering about 3000 who were drawn from the 27 local government areas of Imo State, including the very elderly men and women among them, on Tuesday June 23, 2020 converged in Owerri, where they staged a protest march against the non-payment of their pension since March 2020, in addition to previous outstanding arrears of 12-40 months, as well as non-payment of their gratuity for over six years now.

As early as 10am on Tuesday, the aggrieved and mournful elder statesmen and women most of who were dressed in shabby rags with various sizes of walking sticks, umbrella and empty dishes and plates, depicting beggars, marched round the streets of Owerri seven times. The protest march had started from the popular Heroes Square, ended at Government House roundabout Owerri. They were led by the executives of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners,Imo State branch, who had earlier warned the state Governor against authorizing another round of personal data verification exercise or engaging in the use of consultants but to rely on the information available at the office of the Accountant General for their payment.

They carried various placards with variety of inscriptions, demanding that government should look into their plight, “we are dying of hunger” “pay us to enable us buy our drugs”, “Have pity on us, We have committed no offence serving the state in the past’, etc.

The peaceful protests terminated at Government House where the weak and exhausted elderly men and women were addressed by the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmas Iwu, who assured the protesters that government had no intention of denying them their rights. He assured that they should be paid before Friday June 26, 2020.

Our reporter who covered the protest rally observed that it was very peaceful without obstruction or confrontation with security operatives who rather stood by, watching the praying and wailing pensioners as they lay rolling and sprawling on the floor of the government house in anticipation of some good news from the authorities.