Owerri - Imo Newspapers retirees under the aegis of the National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW) on Wednesday called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to pay their terminal benefits.
The retirees made the appeal in Owerri when their executive members, led by Adolphus Ike, visited the Secretariat of the Imo State Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Ike lamented that the retirees had yet to receive their terminal benefits since they retired, adding that this had led to the death of some of them.
"We have lost many of our members to death because of hardship, frustration and hunger. Some are bed-ridden.
"Imo Newspapers is not pensionable. What happens is that if one retires, his end of service severance benefits are paid to him once and for all.’’
Ike alleged that other administrations had respected the policy and paid some of the retirees but the present administration had yet to do same, in spite of appeals.
He said the group had no other option than to embark on a peaceful demonstration at the expiration of the seven days grace period, from the day the protest letter was submitted to the State Government.
"NUPPPROW regrets that various letters and entreaties made to the government by the affected retirees regarding the unpaid entitlements have failed to attract government’s attention.
"The affected senior citizens of Imo State have suffered untold hardship resulting to the death of six of them.
"Some of the retirees are currently sick, bed-ridden and unable to access medical treatment, due to lack of funds.’’
He said that the group thought they would be treated alongside the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), "but the recent pronouncement by government on IBC retirees excluded newspaper retirees’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that efforts to reach the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chinedu Offor, to comment on the matter proved abortive.
Imo Newspapers are the publishers of The Statesman’. The number of years owed the retirees ranges from two to 10 years.