Some pensioners in Abia State staged a public protest during the celebration of International Workers’ Day on Wednesday, to press home their demand for payment of pensions and gratuities to retired workers in the state.
The pensioners — old men and women —disrupted the smooth flow of the celebration when Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State, was about to take the salute.
They stormed the podium, sitting on the floor, while insisting that their pension must be paid.
Dressed in black attires, the protesters carried placards with some of the inscriptions reading, 'Stop This Mercy Killing and Gross Tyranny,' 'Pay Pension, Gratuity,' and 'Pension Payment is Now A Taboo in Abia State.'
Addressing the Governor, Chukwuma Udensi, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, noted that the pensioners served the state and should not be deserted and denied pensions.
Udensi said: “It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. We have invested so much in the present administration for the past four years, so we expect him to act fast.
“We are being owed 19 months now, added to the nine months owed us by the past administration, which will amount to 28 months.
“We are calling on Abia government to pay pensioners of Abia because most of us have died due to unpaid retirement benefits.”
He stated that the protest was done to make the public aware of what they go through as the state government has decided to stop payment of pensions.