No fewer than 100 retired local government health workers on Tuesday staged a protest in Awka, over non-adjustment of their Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) in Anambra, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The protesters, under the umbrella of Health Pensioners of the Anambra Local government system, carried placards with various inscriptions and marched along 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” and “retirement is not a crime”.
The spokesperson of the group, Raphael Okoye, told journalists that Governor Willie Obiano had approved an increment for health workers from 40 to 60 per cent since 2015, but that the consequential adjustment for the affected members had not been done since the approval.
“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.
Mr 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.
He lamented that the good intentions of Mr Obiano for retirees were being frustrated by the JAAC office, which “deliberately refused to pay the retirees their due”.
Mr Okoye said some of their members were 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 had jeopardized the lives of many while some had died in the process,” he said.
Mr Okoye called on Governor Obiano to order the JAAC office to pay her members their entitlements in full, without further delay.
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“We appeal to the governor to caution the 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 percent for all health workers in Anambra and all Anambra people who have been with us in the course of this struggle,” he said.
NAN could not immediately get Secretary JAAC, Confidence Azodo’s, reaction for this report as he did not respond to calls as of the time of filing this report.