Ebonyi retiree threatens to sue Umahi, state govt over seizure of entitlements


A retired Director of Information in Ebonyi State Civil Service in 2014, Chief Abia Onyike has threatened to sue Governor David Umahi and the state government to court over alleged seizure of his pension and gratuity after a meritorious service of 35 years.

Abai Onyike who has  served as Ebonyi Commissioner of Information and State Orientation under former Governor Martins Nwanchor Elechi and also one time Deputy National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, NATIONAL PANEL gathered.

According to The Nations News, Onyike alleged that the governor directed the payroll officers at the state ministry of Finance to stop payment of his Pension and gratuity, as a result of his critics to  Umahi's led administration.

“I joined the Civil Service in February, 1980 under late Governor Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State and retired untainted as Director of Information after 35 years of meritorious service in Ebonyi State in August, 2014, before Umahi became Governor. I think it is morally and spiritually wrong for Gov. Umahi to come now and start withholding my life entitlements. This is a terrible and vicious aberration," he said.

He also noted that the Governor Umahi allegedly terminated the payment of his pension since June 2020 by passing an oral instruction to the payroll officers in the Ministry to stop paying him, adding that the governor had blocked the payment of his gratuity since assumed office in 2015.

“I may be compelled to drag Gov. Umahi and the State Government to Court, if by the end of this year the government continues to withhold my Hardy earned and legitimate entitlements” Onyike added.

It was gathered that Onyike had severally criticized Umahi’s Government for engaging in white elephant projects, neglecting the welfare of state workers, non appointment of Permanent Secretaries in the Governor’s first tenure (2015-2019) and his polarisation/ proscription of some trade unions in the state.

NATIONAL PANEL also learnt that  Governor Umahi  had dragged Onyike to Court in a #10 billion Defamation Case which is still pending in Court.

However, The Nation News reported that Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji,  dismissed the allegations, stressing that the ex- commissioner is always in the habit of fabricating lies against the state government.

Orji noted that the governor never directed any officer in the ministry of finance to stop any payment of pension to the former commissioner or any other person as the state government is always providing the entitlements of retirees in the state.

 “After some years of his retirement and today he is coming back to say that he hasn’t been paid pension, I wish him good luck. The governor never ever directed any person in the ministry of finance not to pay any person and not at all.

“The government of Ebonyi state has from time to time been paying the entitlements of the retirees. He is crying foul of not been paid by the government, for the record, Abia Onyike has been in the habit of fabricating lies and embarking on publications that is against the state government which is very unwarranted, ignominious and irresponsible," Orji said. 


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