The National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has expressed appreciation to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for his “untiring commitment“ to the welfare of the pensioners in the state.
They said Ugwuanyi was able to care for pensioners in spite of the state’s lean resources and the nation’s economic challenges.
The National President of NUP, Comrade Godwin Abumisi, stated this when the governor G hosted him at the Government House, Enugu, on Friday following his emergence as the new national president of the group.
Abumidi is an indigene of Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State and the first South-Easterner to head NUP.
He described Ugwuanyi as “a pensioner and labour-friendly governor”, saying he was not in their list of state governors who are not labour and pensioner-friendly.
According to him, they have a list of governors who are not paying pensions and gratuities.
“I am so happy to inform you that our dear Governor (Ugwuanyi) and the government of Enugu State are not on that lis,” hwe said.
Abumisi commended Ugwuanyi for his steadfastness, saying: “I want to say that I am very happy to associate with you.
“Having won the NUP presidency, we said it would be beautiful for us to come to Enugu and tell His Excellency that we have done so.
“We are here because this is the first time in our history, in the national history, in the history of the NUP, that it is our fortune to occupy the position of the National President of NUP.
“The beauty of it all is that I am from Enugu State, from a little town known as Obeleagu Umana in Ezeagu LGA”.
On their part, the leaders of pensioners in the South East Zone expressed profound gratitude to Ugwuanyi “for the compassionate love, respect and honour that you have shown to our pensioners in Enugu State”.
Speaking on their behalf, Dr. G.B Ugochukwu equally thanked the governor “for your labour and pensioner friendliness, regular payment of workers’ salaries, pensions, security and infrastructural development in the state”.
“All these are possible because Enugu State is in the hands of God”.
Receiving Comrade Abumisi and his entourage, Gov. Ugwuanyi stated that it was heartwarming for an Enugu State indigene to occupy the exalted position of the National President of the NUP.
The governor congratulated Abumisi for attaining the enviable position and prayed that he leads the union with the fear of God.
He urged him to provide the desired leadership for the benefit of millions of pensioners in the country.
On his administration’s commitment to the welfare of the state pensioners, Gov. Ugwuanyi represented by his deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, said that the government on assumption of office inherited a backlog of gratuity, running into billions of naira.
“To mitigate this challenge, the present administration undertook to set aside N100 million monthly to offset the backlog of gratuities dating back to 2009.
“A committee was put in place to ensure utmost transparency. However, with the coming of COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant global economic downturn, we had to temporarily put it on hold to ensure that salaries and
pensions were paid”, he said.
The governor disclosed that the Enugu State at present has 12,000 pensioners in the government’s payroll with a monthly wage bill of N630 million.
He added that Enugu was one of the few states in the country that keyed into the payment of the new National Minimum Wage with its consequential adjustments in 2020.
“This has doubled the wage bill of the state. The above notwithstanding, this administration has continued to pay salaries on or before the end of every month”, he said.
Ugwuanyi reiterated the cordial working relationship between his administration and the pensioners in the state. (NAN)