By Ifeanyi Okonkwo
Retirees in Anambra State have rejected the annual bags of rice given to them by the state governor, Willie Obiano, saying all they want is their retirement benefits paid or nothing more.
According to them, the bag of Rice given to them every Christmas was a “Greek gift”.
The state chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Dr Anthony Ugozor, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of other pensioners in the state on Wednesday December 9, said that the last gratuity that was paid to them was in 2017.
He said if they were paid their gratuity, they will have no need to be collecting bags of rice from the state government every year and that they will have enough money to buy the type of rice they want.
“They give us rice at the end of every year, but the gift of rice is not constitutional. It is a gift which the government is not mandated to give.
“If the pension is reviewed as and when due and harmonisation done as it should be done and arrears paid when it is supposed to be paid and we are not given rice, we will be more comfortable because we will have enough money to buy the type of rice we want and still have enough money to attend to other needs.
“It is unfortunate that once somebody retires in Nigeria, he is regarded as deadwood because we can neither embark on strike nor give the government an ultimatum. The only thing we can do is to go on a hunger strike, which is even detrimental to our health.
“Everything government is doing concerning pensioners is mere pretense and exploitative and that is why I say that no government is a true lover of pensioners, be it federal, state, or local government.”Ugozor said.