Enugu State Governor, Barr Peter Mbah, has given retired primary school teachers and other local government retirees in the state renewed hope by establishing a committee for the “Verification and Payment of Outstanding Pensions and Gratuities to Local Government Staff and Primary School Teachers.”
While launching the 9-member committee at Government House in Enugu, the Governor stated that the move was in keeping with his commitment to ensuring that retirees who had served and contributed to the state’s development received their pensions.
He recalled that a similar committee was recently formed at the state level to settle the overdue pensions and gratuities owed civil personnel since 2006 and that the decision was made to fulfill a campaign promise to the people.
Governor Mbah, who entrusted the committee with reflecting on their honesty and experiences on the task at hand, stated that the team was chosen based on several crucial factors such as their track records and credibility in life.
He also revealed that the state committee, which would act as a guide, had done substantial work and was set to deliver its report and recommendations on Friday.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Chidiebere Onyia, expressed confidence in the integrity of the committee members while urging them to justify their inclusion in the all-important team by upholding the people’s hope and what the government represents.
The committee’s terms of reference include verifying and determining all outstanding pensions and gratuities due to local government employees and primary school teachers; verifying and determining the total number of local government retirees who are primary school teachers and local government employees; recommending an appropriate plan or module for payment of all verified pensions and gratuities; and submitting their findings and report within three weeks of its inception.
“This is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring that pensions and gratuities are handled in an equitable manner.”
“We took the time to inaugurate the state-level team, and they have been working hard.” We can all agree that verification is crucial to the project’s success. So, what you’ll be doing is nearly identical to what’s being done at the state level, but because local government is more complex, we needed the level of experience we have here.
“The committee’s Chairman, Rev. Fr. Nnamdi Ambrose Nwankwo, is someone we can trust and hold in high regard.” After you have filed your report, your recommendations will affect what my government does as a policy declaration.
“The State Committee on Pensions and Gratuities will submit their report by this Friday.”
“You have three weeks to complete yours. Yours will examine the data we already have to see if it is legitimate, as well as the methods. That is why your choice is essential.
“We have faith in your ability to bring that level of expertise and credibility to the process.” As I stated to the state committee that the SSG chairs, two things are critical: hope and credibility.
“These are critical because you are dealing with people who have dedicated their lives to building the state.” Hope is essential in this situation, as is the process’s integrity. We hope that this team will reflect it in its completeness and in all that it accomplishes.
“We are confident that this team will provide the necessary decisions, support, and recommendations for us to be able to take the next step in meeting our pension and gratuity obligations,” the Governor added.
In response to their inauguration, the chairman of the committee, Fr. Nwankwo, who also serves as Rector of Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, assured that the team would not fail the government or the people of the state since they had what it required to complete the mission.
He promised that the team would come up with credible and excellent recommendations that would benefit the people, particularly pensioners who were in desperate need of the assistance that the governor would provide.
“I want to thank the Governor for his dedication to the people, especially those who have suffered and contributed to the advancement of this state and are now retired,” Fr. Nwankwo remarked.
He went on to say that the committee will do all possible to assist the government in extending the gesture to the people, describing the move as a timely relief that would reach those impacted.
Donatus Achi, a retired Permanent Secretary, Comrade Ike Ekere, State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Theophilus Nweke Odo, State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Kenneth Ugwueze, State Chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Adenike Okebu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Revenue, Larry Oguego, a human rights activist, Chinedu Ngen