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Pension Priority: Governor Otti Orders Immediate Payments Amid Verification Process

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UMUAHIA, Nigeria – Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has directed the immediate payment of pensions to the state’s pensioners despite an ongoing verification exercise to identify ghost pensioners.

This decision reflects the governor’s concern for pensioners’ well-being and the urgent nature of their financial needs.

In a statement issued on Monday, July 17, 2023, by Ferdinand Ekeoma, the media adviser to the governor, Otti’s decision aims to ensure pensioners can meet their immediate needs.

Ekeoma emphasized that delaying payment until the conclusion of the verification exercise could severely impact pensioners, many of whom are currently facing significant economic and health challenges.

The delay in pension payments was previously attributed to unreliable data for identifying genuine pensioners.

The ongoing verification exercise was initiated to distinguish genuine pensioners from fraudulent individuals exploiting the state’s resources.

However, Otti has directed the state’s pensions board to proceed with payments despite potential government losses.

The governor believes implementing a sanitized system or template is crucial to ensuring a smooth and sustainable pension payment process, benefiting genuine pensioners.

Regarding Local Government workers’ payments, Ekeoma explained that a delay had occurred because Local Government Treasurers failed to provide the requested payment schedules.

Governor Otti’s directive showcases his prioritization of pensioners’ welfare and the importance of timely financial assistance.

The ongoing verification exercise will continue its efforts to establish a transparent and efficient system, ensuring only deserving pensioners receive their benefits.

Governor Alex Otti Calls for Support to Tackle Abia State’s N200 Billion Debt

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has raised alarm over the state’s financial situation, stating that it’s in a “deep hole” due to huge debts.

He called on citizens to rally behind the government to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.

During a thanksgiving church service on Sunday, June 18, 2023, the governor made this statement for the newly sworn-in member representing the Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency in Abia State at the House of Representatives, Obi Aguocha.

The event occurred at Okaiuga Central School Nkwoegwu Ohuhu in Umuahia North local government area of Abia State. It was attended by prominent personalities, friends, political associates, and supporters of the federal lawmaker.

Governor Otti pointed out that the previous state government, controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, left Abia State saddled with debts totaling N200 billion.

He expressed commitment on the part of the current administration to salvage the state from this debt burden, attributing the financial crisis to the misplaced priorities of the previous administration.

Addressing concerns over the delay in constituting the state executive council since his inauguration, Governor Otti revealed that the full constitution of the state executive council would be announced before the end of June.

Furthermore, he stated that the government is set to commence the payment of confirmed salary arrears. He noted that retirees from the state service are owed several years of unpaid pensions and entitlements.

Governor Otti added, “We have started a forensic audit of the pensioners, to ensure the right people are paid since there were uncovered fictitious figures and numbers that cannot be confirmed.”

He appealed for the patience and support of the people of Abia State and asserted that the era of corrupt practices by public officials without consequences is over.

The Governor vowed to ensure accountability and transparency in managing the state’s resources.

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