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Okorocha Sees Civil Servants As Enemies –Perm Secs

Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries battles Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha over the manner he has been maltreating civil servants and pensioners in the state.

The Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries in the state has expressed dismay over the manner Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been maltreating civil servants and pensioners, saying he sees the workers as his bitter enemies instead of partners in progress.

The retired permanent secretaries also accused the governor of vowing to exterminate them by refusing to pay pensioners their pension arrears and gratuities.

Briefing journalists on the plights of retired permanent secretaries of the state yesterday in Owerri, the state chairman of the association and former head of service of the state, Chief Hyacinth Onyekwere, called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to pay retired permanent secretaries the outstanding seven months pension arrears owed them by government.

The pensioners said expressed surprise that Okorocha considered the payment of salaries of workers as a burden, but had continued to draw his own salary and other entitlements to cater for himself and family from the public fund of the state. They urged the governor to clear the arrears with the bailout fund from Federal Government.

Onyekwere said that most members of the association received their last pension in October, 2014, regretting, “cheques issued to us by Imo government in November and December, 2014 all bounced’’.

He lamented that due to none payment of the pension and other attendant economic consequences, retirees in the state are falling sick and dying in their numbers. The chairman of Imo retired permanent secretaries also observed that the same fate was faced by other pensioners and workers in the state who are equally groaning under non-payment of pensions and salaries.

The pensioners lamented that the governor had run the state economy aground, noting that the situation was adversely affecting the economic fortune of the state. In the words of the chairman, “Business operators in Imo are seriously lamenting the lull they are facing because of non-payment of pensioners and workers’’.

Onyekwere noted that it was in a bid to tackle series of complaints of unpaid salaries and pensions from states that President Muhammadu Buhari gave bailout funds to states and urged Okorocha not to present any excuse in utilizing the bailout fund. “Governor Okorocha must not present any excuse now that the bailout fund has been provided by the federal government because non-payment of pension and salaries has reduced the injection of money to the economy.

                          -Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri

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