Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has maintained that there’s no going back in the pension agreement signed with executives of Abia State National Union of Pensioners (NUP).

The governor gave his administration’s position during the monthly media parley held at Government House Umuahia on Thursday.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) Abia State Chapter, had said it is untrue that it agreed with the State Government to waive outstanding entitlements and gratuities to members in the memorandum of agreement entered by both parties prior to the payment of pension arrears by Governor Alex Otti’s administration in April.

The Union in a Communique issued at the end of their enlarged state council meeting held in Umuahia on May 3, 2024 was signed by the Chairman, Chukwuemeka Irondi and State Secretary, Uma Kalu.

The communique read that the council and the State Exco of the Union lacked the power to waive the gratuities of retirees and appealed to the state government to expunge such a section from the Memorandum of Agreement.

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Responding to the matter squally, Governor Otti said the union executives entered and signed an agreement with the state government which N10bn was set aside to pay the pensioners.

In his words: “They told us that they are interested in the payment of their full pension from January 2024, and they also said they are ready to wave all the arrears once there was a commitment to paying them promptly and to pay hundred percent of the pension, so we went back and thought it was not a fair deal, we thought that the pensioners, in spite of the difficulties that they were under, we are not going to write off all their pension arrears.

“So we looked at our books and we put down N10bn to defray the total arrears, we sat down, we worked back and had an agreement which every party signed. So I’m aware that after we paid that money, the leadership of the NUP came to say ooh that they had made a mistake that they didn’t think that gratuity should be waved. But of course you have signed a document and on the basis of that document , action has been taken.”

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He also affirmed that as a government, they will live by the document they have signed. The Governor also recalled how some reports had it that some pensioners went to churches for thanksgiving on pension received.

“I think it’s a huge joke after you have signed a document and say u didn’t sign, or that a portion of the document should be exponged after you have signed and the other party has changed position. Gratuity is a one time thing, you weren’t getting anything before, we have shown good faith.” Gov Otti said.

From the agreement, governor Otti holds that he has kept his campaign promise of clearing the accumulated pension by past governments which was calculated to be accumulate pension arrears of nine years.

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