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Abia State Government: We Spent Over 9 Billion Naira on Pension Arrears

Abia State Government: We Spent Over 9 Billion Naira on Pension Arrears 

Alex Otti

The Abia State government says over 9 billion naira has so far been spent on the payment of arrears of pensions owed retirees since 2014.

The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akara, who disclosed this after the State Executive Council Meeting, stated that the whole pension was paid as agreed with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners.

“We had an agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, and according to what we agreed, His Excellency did exactly what we agreed. And the agreement is to pay the arrears of pensions, and that’s exactly what the government has done, and they are happy about that.

“Everybody knows that things are hard, so for a government to even own up and do what others have not done even in the past, it needs an applause.

“Some people got up to N8m, individuals, so it’s not a mean thing.”

Remember that Governor Otti brought up the topic of Abia pensioners in his Easter message to Abians. These pensioners recently received a windfall of pension arrears, some of which had been unpaid since 2014.

He said, “Just three days ago, we fulfilled a very important promise made to our senior citizens at various campaign stops and repeated it with firm assurance in the early days of this administration.

“Our initial plan was to offset the pension arrears accumulated since 2014 by the end of 2023, but reconciliation and verification issues made us set the end of the first quarter of 2024 as the new deadline. We duly communicated the situation in our New Year message and pleaded for the kind understanding of our pensioners.

“I am glad that we have fulfilled that solemn promise; making it possible for thousands of pensioners and their families to celebrate this year’s Easter in joy, satisfied that what they worked for—their genuine entitlements, which had been delayed for years through no fault of theirs—has finally been offset.”

The governor said, “But considering that this most basic of obligations was neglected for years, the palpable joy on the faces of our senior citizens is understandable.” In general, paying people their entitlements should not cause excitement.

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