Abia State Pensioners, die like beggars, says Chukwudike …Their corpses abandoned in Morgue

The Umuahia branch Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Chief Nwosu Chukwudike has lamented that some of the members who died have remained in the mortuary for more than one year, as there was no fund to buy coffins to bury them.
Chukwudike who made this revelation at the pensioners hall, subtreasury, Umuahia, Abia State during the end of year/award ceremony, said if pensions were paid as at when due, most dead pensioners wouldn’t have died like beggars.
“As a result of this unfortunate situation, pensioners are subjected to ingenious trauma. Majority of pensioners are on routine drugs. Those lucky to be conveyed to the hospital cannot pay their bills, due to paucity of fund. Death is reported daily. Deceased families leave corpse for more than a year for lack of fund to buy coffin for burial.
“Our members are laid to rest like chicken, when they should be buried as heroes. What a sympathetic and piteous situation”, he lamented.
He said, “the plight and predicament of pensioners in Abia State is not only topical but trending in all print and electronic media in the state. The pensioners pass through harrowing experience from the date of receipt of retirement slip to death”, he lamented.
He said, “it is against the backdrop of this pernicious and excruciating situation, that we inaugurated a welfare scheme”.
The scheme which is a part of the pensioners welfare policy, according to the branch chairman, would cover life and death benefit as palliative.
Chief Chukwudike commended the welfare planning committee for a good job done so far, adding, “at the moment we commence with death and to extend to life benefit as funds increase”.
In his speech, the NUP State Secretary, Elder O.C Arungwa lauded the branch for its welfare scheme and enjoined others to emulate and replicate same in their various branches.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Dan Ibekwe charged members who are yet to cue into the welfare scheme to do so as it is binding to all members of the branch. He lamented that when pensioners who during their active years of service contributed to the progress of the state, die, as a result of none payment of pensions, the families would bury them like a child, adding, “since January 2018, none of us have received our monthly pensions and the arrears of 2017 is still hanging”.
In their respective speeches, the deputy chief of staff, office of the Abia state governor, Chief Ukpai Agwu Ukpai, GM ASPIMSS, Dr. Anthony C.B. Agbazuere, Commissioner of transport, Chief Kingsley Imaga and Chief Acho Ojukwu a representative of Abia House of Assembly majority leader, Hon. Chinedum Orji counseled the pensioners to be patient and always pray for the success of governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration as he is working assiduously to put smiles on their faces.
A book titled “Reparations Game” written by a certified accountant, Amobi Ogbonnaya has been unveiled in Umuahia, Abia State with a charge to every Nigerian and indeed Africans to make it a companion and a most read.
The 73 page book encapsulated the essential facts and epochal time frames in the histories of the African people from precolonial to post independence times.
The author of the book, Amobi Ogbonnaya who spoke extensively over his choice of the publication dwelled on forcible carting away of African youths who were productive into slavery and the systematic despoiling of African continent by the colonial masters through unfair trade and massive harvesting of “our mineral deposits”.
According to him, about 137 million Africans taken into slavery by the Europeans over 600 years ago, was a major setback to the entire African race as according to him, “the colonial masters ended up destroying the productive energies and enterprising spirits of the native African nations”. He said that there is the need for African nations to be compensated by the colonial masters, considering the extent of damage done to Africans.
Ogbonnaya was of the opinion that the Abia State government should show commitment for the book so as to enable it pursue the case of African nations from the European masters.
“There is the need for Abia State government to show commitment right from home to enable me drive home the case of underdeveloped African nations, in order for African nations to be compensated by the colonial masters”, he said. He particularly cited Arochukwu and Uzuakoli as worst affected during the era of slave trade.
The author while appreciating his immediate constituency – his family, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, the book reviewer, Ven. Dr. Alex Ihemekwalam, distinguished guests, friends and associates for making the book presentation a success, also added that he has written several books of which “Youthful Blunders” was among the unveiled books. In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Chief Emmanuel Ndubuisi expressed appreciation for the author’s ingenuity/dexterity to articulate publications of such nature. He noted that the book will assist youths to dwell on the historical background of slave trade in Africa, while advocated for that the book be enhanced/upgraded to E-book, where people would access it online with their phones. Chief Ndubuisi said the book is a most read, adding that, “it is insightful and will do a lot in the international community”. In their respective speeches, Chief Sunday Onyembinanma, Chief Chris Awoala, Mr. Chukwudi Ogbonnaya among others extolled the virtues of the author, Amobi Ogbonnaya, who they described as a pacesetter and gift to Abia State. While calling on members of the society to imbibe the habit of reading, they frowned that the advent of the social media has done more harm than good to the society, as everyone is addicted to the social media with little or no time to patronize books.
By Benjamin Kalu, Umuahia

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