Akwa Ibom Pensioners Threaten Mass Protests Over Poor Payment Conditions

Members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Akwa Ibom State Council, have announced plans to stage mass protests across the streets of the Uyo metropolis to draw attention to their grievances regarding poor pension payments.

The pensioners expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of their pension payments, stating that some retirees who retired in the 1980s were still receiving meager sums of N1,000, N1,500, or N2,000 as pension, despite the rising cost of living. They highlighted the constitutional provision for pension review every five years, which the government has failed to implement.

Speaking on behalf of the pensioners, the state Chairman, Mr. Ekpeyong Ekpo, and State Secretary, Cosmos Essien, lamented the dire situation faced by their members, many of whom struggle to meet basic needs and afford healthcare. They emphasized the urgency of their plight, noting that a significant percentage of pensioners are hypertensive and diabetic, with limited access to medical care.

The union criticized the government for reneging on promises to increase pension payments, citing unfulfilled commitments to raise minimum pension amounts to N20,000 for retirees before 1997 and N30,000 for those afterward. Despite assurances from the government to commence payments in April 2023, no action has been taken, leading to mounting frustration among pensioners.

However, the union expressed gratitude to Governor Umo Eno for his efforts in clearing gratuity payments, acknowledging the disbursement of over N14 billion in gratuities within nine months of his administration. While commending the governor’s actions, they urged him to address the outstanding pension and gratuity debts, which they estimated to be over N40 billion.

Ekpo emphasized the need for continued advocacy and support for pensioners, urging the governor to establish a dedicated pension commission or board to address pension-related issues effectively. He highlighted the dynamic nature of pension membership, with new retirees entering the system while others pass away, underscoring the ongoing challenges faced by pensioners in Akwa Ibom State.


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