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Retirement is a ‘curse’, South-East pensioners lament

Retirement is a ‘curse’, South-East pensioners lament
Pensioners in the South-East zone on Friday lamented that retirement from civil service has turned out to be a curse for them, rather than a blessing.

The pensioners bemoaned their plight at the South-East Zonal meeting of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, in Enugu.

The senior citizens expressed concern over the pension situation in the zone, particularly in Imo State, where it was reported that the state government, which had slashed pensions to 40 per cent, is owes pensioners N56.4bn in arrears as of March 2018.

Chairman of the NUP, Enugu State chapter, Comrade Damian Udeani, who appraised the pension situation in the zone in an address at the meeting, observed that retirement from service has become a curse.

“It is a great pity that retirement from service has now become a curse rather than a blessing. In the good old days, retirement was regarded as an achievement and a time to enjoy a pleasurable rest.

“That was when payment of pension was made the first charge before any other expenses.

“That informed the NUP motto of ‘Rest is sweet after labour’, which pensioners have now corrupted into ‘Rest is sweet after payment’.

“Payment of pension has now become a big issue so much so that pensioners are literally on their knees begging for their retirement benefits,” Udeani said.

Although Udeani noted that some civil service pensioners are paid regularly in Enugu State, he revealed that retirees in parastatals like the state broadcasting service, water corporation and retired primary school teachers, as well as former staff of local governments, are owed huge arrears of monthly pensions and other benefits.

Udeani added that pensioners in the state receive less than their counterparts ‘elsewhere’.

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