·        Say govt starving then to death

In order to avert imminent mass protest by hundreds of Imo pensioners who allegedly have not been paid their accumulated pensions and other entitlements the leadership[ of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Imo State branch must have  chosen to dialogue with the Imo state government for  necessary action.

This medium was authoritatively told that for weeks serious entreaties have  been made to the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma through the appropriate government departments on how to resolve the lingering issue of nonpayment of pensions, and what they described as staggered payment among their members.

Recently, amidst growing anger, frustration and pain due to the accumulated arrears, hundreds of Imo pensioners who have not been paid since August 2021, when the present  administration in the state started paying pensioners were said to be mobilizing for a showdown with the Imo state government.

In what they described as “Battle of their life” and “fight to finish”, the ailing senior citizens roundly accused the Uzodinma-led administration of deliberately starving them and their dependants to death.

Majority of them who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity said they were thoroughly captured and verified during the December 2019 exercise by the immediate past government of Chief Emeka Ihedioha, adding that they were paid as at when due before the present government in the state came on board on 14th January 2020.

The distraught and angry pensioners wondered why their names were excluded for payment when they were not  ghost pensioners.

According to them, they have suffered acrid humiliation and untold hardship as they could not provide for their families and dependants, nor access Medicare.

Collaborating the pensioner submission, Sir Emmanuel Ukonu a member of the union, former school head, and an administrator, said that, of a truth many pensioners have not been paid since August 2021 when the present government started payment of pensions, 18 months after it came on board.

He said that although both himself and his wife were not affected by the staggered payment, his heart bleeds for his suffering colleagues who are dying in numbers due to the present state of affairs.

At the “senior citizens house”, the state headquarters of the union, the state principal secretary, Evangelist L.U. Ashiegbu told this reporter that many pensioners in Imo state have not been paid, and that the union was not unmindful of their predicament.

He said that the untold hardship being experienced by these senior citizens were mind-boggling.

He however said that serious efforts were being made by the NUP to salvage the situation, adding that even now the union was discussing with the state commissioner in charge of pension matters for onward transmission to the governor.

On the plagued showdown with the state government, Evang Ashiegbu said that confrontation is not the best option for now, adding that the union believes that dialogue remains the best option.