Retired council health workers protest over poor pensions

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Just few days after calling off resident doctors strike, no fewer than 100 retired local government health workers have protested in Awka over non-adjustment of their Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) in Anambra State.

The protesters, under the umbrella of Health Pensioners of the Anambra Local Government System, carried placards and marched on the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, Awka.

Some of the placards read: “Pay 2015 to 2019 health retirees their retirement benefits”, “JAAC pay pensioners their entitlements”, “Cabal is in control of JAAC”, “Retirement is not a crime”, “Akpokuedike global come to our rescue”, among others.

The group’s spokesman, Mr. Raphael Okoye, told reporters that Governor Willie Obiano in 2015 approved an increment for health workers from 40 to 60 per cent, but the consequential adjustment for the affected members had not been done.

“We have followed the file and ascertained that it was acknowledged by the office of the Head of Service, computed by the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) and vetted by its auditor,” he said.

But, Okoye added that in spite of the approval, the JAAC office had refused to effect the payment even when all documentary processes and several reminders had been sent.

READ ALSO: Resident doctors: Reason for suspending strike

He lamented that the good intentions of Governor Obiano for retirees were being frustrated by the JAAC office, “which deliberately refused to pay the retirees their due.”

Okoye said some of their members are passing through hardship because of the paltry sum they go home with as their monthly pensions.

“Some of our pensioners get laughable amounts as monthly pensions, while their counterparts get more reasonable pay. This ugly trend has jeopardised the lives of many, while some have died in the process,” he said.

Okoye urged Governor Obiano to order JAAC office to pay her members their entitlements in full, without further delay.

“We appeal to His Excellency to caution JAAC secretary for refusing to carry out the order of duly constituted authorities.

“We further wish that the secretary be re-assigned to another portfolio suitable for his age and experience, since he is messing up the good intentions of our governor.

“Once again, we thank Governor Obiano for approving 60 per cent for health workers in Anambra and all Anambra people who have been with us in the course of this struggle,” he said.

When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited the office of Mr. Confidence Azodo, Secretary JAAC, Anambra, he was said to have gone out on official assignment.

But, two women in his office advised NAN to keep coming to the office that one day we would be lucky to meet Azodo or alternatively call his phone number.

However, calls made to him were not picked at press time.

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