The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has accused Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sponsoring the alleged flogging of Imo pensioners, who penultimate week were protesting the delay of their several months arrears of pensions. During the fracas on Tuesday August 4, 2020, many of them were wounded and their leaders held in captivity for some hours by hoodlums.

In a release issued on Sunday August 9, 2020, signed by Mr Modestus Nwankpa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Print Media, he narrated how a government house source stumbled on two gentlemen, who claimed that they were hired and sponsored at the rate of N5000 each to carry out the nefarious and shameful act only to discredit the state Governor and disparage the present Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

The statement reads in full; “today while I was relaxing with one of my friends at one Hotel in Owerri drinking and gisting over certain issues, meanwhile, sitting not too far beside us at the bar were two other guys whose faces i have not seen before. These guys were discussing amongst themselves.  Perhaps because of the number of bottles they had consumed and I suspect were a bit “high” and suddenly decided to talk about the issue of the alleged flogging of the pensioners, at first comically but later angrily.

Initially, my friend and I were not interested nor paying attention to what they were discussing among themselves because it was in a bar. 

It was at the point where one of the guys who later identified himself to me simply as Lucky and who also claimed he resides in Onitsha told the other guy (who apparently was on the know of the issue) that he was yet to get his full pay from the PDP Person, according to him, for the job of flogging the pensioners vowing that he must get his money from the person whom I do not know. Although, he mentioned the name of the PDP person whom he said contracted them for the ugly job but I could not place the name. 

At this stage, I beckoned on my friend to be quiet while I shifted my rapt attention towards them. 

To cut the long story short, I approached the guy and pretended as though I knew what he was talking about and I told him that I knew another guy with similar predicament like his and furiously condemned the act while promising to help him get to the root of the matter. 

At this point, the guy opened up.  He told me pointedly how he was contacted and conscripted into the deal by his cousin who is a PPD supporter. He said that he and the other guys, according to him, numbering about 12 guys were told that some pensioners would be protesting the following day and they were asked to be at the government house roundabout and that immediately the pensioners assembled and done with the protest, they should start chasing and flogging them but according to him, with a caveat that they should be careful not to injure anyone because they are old men and women. 

He said that the idea was to accuse the state government of being responsible thereby disparaging and tarnishing the integrity of the state Governor and the state government before the world, because the press, both electronic and print media including social media would be there. He said the PDP agent who addressed them before the assignment promised to give them N5k each. He told me that he was only given N3k remaining a balance of N2k, being the reason why he was angry. There were other things he said promising to open up what happened if he did not get his balance”.