The Delta State Government and the All Progressive Congress have continued trading words over the recent protest by the pensioners in the state.
The State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, had said the leader of the protesting retirees, Mrs Helen Ejie, was APC Delta North women leader and accused her of misleading the public on whose responsibility it was to pay the pensioners.
He said the protesting pensioners were not retirees of the state government but primary school retirees under the local government councils.
Aniagwu stated that the protests targeted at maligning and impugning the reputation of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was politically motivated.
“The leader of the protesters is Mrs Helen Ejie, a retired teacher from Iyiatu Primary School, Utagba-Ogbe in Ndokwa West. She retired in 2016 and is the coordinator of APC women in Delta North.
“We have seen some stage-managed protests by individuals who ordinarily are supposed to appreciate what the state government has done,” the commissioner said.
In a swift reaction, the state chapter of the APC described the state government’s action as malicious lies spewed, saying that the protests embarked upon by pensioners/retirees over their unpaid gratuities and pension entitlements running into billions of naira, was politically motivated and sponsored by APC.
The Publicity Secretary the party, E.V. Onojeghuo, in a statement, said Delta APC found the allegations rather laughable to say the least.
The party said, “It is incomprehensible to note that instead of addressing the issues of paying pensioners/retirees their due entitlements, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, engaged in a campaign of calumny by insidiously dragging the name APC into its criminal negligence of the Okowa’s administration deliberate refusal to pay pensioners/retirees their hard earned pensions.”
“It is Indeed painful that pensioners/retirees who had given the best years of their lives in service to Delta State, are languishing in penury and abject poverty, with some of them already dead, and the only excuse given by this catatonic contraption of a government for its refusal to honour its constitutional and moral obligations to pay pensioners/retirees their due entitlements, is to label them as local government employees and APC members.
“This is despite the fact that while in service, these pensioners/retirees have statutory pensions being deducted from their salaries monthly and paid into the State government coffers whose monies the Okowa led administration may have diverted to fund the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaigns.”