Pensioners in Anambra State have rejected Governor Willie Obiano’s Christmas rice gifts in bags which he usually gives to them annually.
The pensioners, who are aggrieved over months of arrears owed them by the state government, said they preferred that the government paid them their retirement benefits or nothing.
Speaking to newsmen in the state on Wednesday, the state Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Dr Anthony Ugozor, said the bags of Christmas rice gifts was unconstitutional. He added that the last time they received their gratuity in the state was in 2017.
He said, “They give us rice at the end of every year, but the gift of rice is not constitutional. It is a gift which the government is not mandated to give.
“If the pension is reviewed as and when due and harmonisation done as it should be done and arrears paid when it is supposed to be paid and we are not given rice, we will be more comfortable because we will have enough money to buy the type of rice we want and still have enough money to attend to other needs.
“It is unfortunate that once somebody retires in Nigeria, he is regarded as deadwood because we can neither embark on strike nor give the government an ultimatum. The only thing we can do is to go on a hunger strike, which is even detrimental to our health.
“Everything government is doing concerning pensioners is mere pretence and exploitative and that is why I say that no government is a true lover of pensioners, be it federal, state, or local government.”