By IFEANYI OLANNYE
ASABA- Delta government says the protest by some retired primary schools teachers demanding for their pensions was influenced by the opposition party in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said this when he addressed newsmen on Monday in Asa.
Aniagwu alleged that the woman who led the protest on Thursday in Asaba, was a card carrying member of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said that the Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa led government had since inception supported the local government councils in the state with funds to ensure payment of salaries and pensions to their workers.
He said that since the state migrated from old pension scheme to the contributory pension scheme, government had been saddled with the huge burden of settling pension arrears for serving and retired workers.
“The burden of the payment of primary school teachers salaries and pension is that of local government authority and not the state government.
“The leader of the protest a retired teacher is also the female coordinator of APC from the Ndokwa nation of the state, but we know that the local government councils are in charge of their remuneration and pensions.
“This group will gather, lie down and try to cast aspersion on the person of Okowa.
” I have never seen where somebody will work in UAC and proceed to Leventice to receive salary,” he said.
He said that the state has over 1,250 primary schools, adding that many more teachers had to be employed to fill the gap which accounted for the huge burden on salaries and pension demand for teachers and other workers.
“Consequently, the workers were owed several months of salary arrears, so, Okowa looked at the situation and has assisted them with N600 million monthly to augumant.
“And at other time we gave N3 billion grant to the local government councils to address the salaries issues to get them out of the woods.
” In the area of pension, we have been assisting the local government councils to meet their obligations; since inception, Okowa had on monthly basis released N150 million to the local government councils.
“After three years, we increased the pension support from N150 million to N300 million and to N500 million monthly to fast track the payment of the backlog pension owed local government workers including the primary school teachers in the state,” he said.
He added:“By this intervention, the state government has reduced the burden of pension arrears owed the local government workers to 2018 and for the primary school teachers, who were owed several years of pension, we have pushed it up to 2016.”
Aniagwu, said that the state government was also ready to commit about N10 billion grant to the local government councils for pension matters in the state which informed the recent demand for N150 billion bridging finance.(NAN)