Dr Uche Sampson Ogah, the Abia Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 general elections, has regretted poor standard of living by retirees of the state civil service.
He also lamented that the sad situation had become the norms with its attendant adverse effects, chief of which is the death of our senior citizens without enjoying their retirement in peace, calling for the immediate reversal.
Ogah, who was the immediate past Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, who spoke through statement made available to newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital on Wednesday.
According to him, “it is irresponsible to starve our senior citizens of their rights to their pension when all that is needed is the leadership and political will to do right by our civil servants who have served meritoriously and are deserving of their pensions and gratuities.
“One is left to wonder the level of wickedness in high places that would make a government look away and thumb their noses at the plights of Abia state retirees.
“It baffles me that a labourer who had done their work would be denied his or her pension at the end of their service and are now left to pray to God and protest to the government for that which is their rights”.
The ex-minister regretted that successive administrations in Abia state have failed to show seriousness in discharging this singular responsibility towards those that keep the system of governance afloat yet they have not for a single moment deprived themselves of any perk that accrued to their high offices.
“This is evil and must be reversed such that those who have put in tremendous service, their sweat and blood as it were and their time in the service of Abia state must be taken care of by the state.
Ogah however promised to set up the required structures as stipulated in the Pension Reform 2014 and harmonize all that is necessary to ensure that what is obtainable at the federal level becomes applicable to all categories of workers in Abia State.
Words: “Since the federal government of Nigeria had set up a contributory Pension Scheme through the Pension Reform Act of 2004 and repealed and replaced same in 2014 in order to ensure a sustainable system of pension payment and correct the abnormalities inherent in the pay-as-you-go defined pension Scheme that has seen to the suffering and death of retirees without getting their entitlements, Abia State had enacted their own pension law in 2017 but the state has not set up its own pension bureau, neither has it registered their employees with Pension Fund Administrators nor has it commenced pension contributions.
“There are a lot gaps in the pension Reform act that Abia state has not even attempted to implement. This information is verifiable”.
AFRIPOST recalls that Ogah had sued Ikechi Emenike, APC, Abdullahi Adamu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the lawful candidate of the party for the 2023 general elections in Abia state.
Ogah had also on the 26th of May, 2022, been named the Abia governorship standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress by his faction in Abia State.
He was declared the winner of the just concluded gubernatorial primary elections after he scored 141,952 votes to beat his closest rival, Paul Ikonne who scored 27,054.