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February 24, 2017

NBA condemns Imo ‘obnoxious’ pension form

The Nigeria Bar Association, Owerri branch, has condemned in strong terms  plan by the Imo state government to pay pensioners in the state 40% of their pension arrears; forcing them to forfeit the balance of 60%.

Addressing the press on important issues concerning Imo State and its government on Friday, December 16, the NBA Chairman Owerri, Barr Lawrence Nwakaeti said information reaching the association indicated that government has cost a form to circulate for pensioners to sign and upon signing the form they will forfeit 60% of their entitlements.

NBA described the form as callous, wicked and insensitive and called on pensioners and Imolites to reject it. “If government treats the retired workers like this it will have a negative impact on those that are still working”. He described the idea as a type of corruption in the system. NBA expressed solidarity with the pensioners and called on the Imo State government to withdraw the form from circulation.

The NBA chairman also said that the NBA wants to believe that the Governor of Imo State is not aware of the form and if that is true, he should come out and tell the people of Imo State that he is not aware of it and bring forward whoever is responsible for it, for appropriate sanction.

Mr. Lawrence Nwakaeri also revealed that judges are being owed allowances, now running into months, which is a way of undermining the independence of the judiciary which is the third arm of the government.

He called on the government of Imo State to respect the provisions of the constitution that prescribe the principle of separation of powers among the judiciary, executive and legislature adding that each of them has its functions clearly spelt out. One of the functions include financial autonomy, he said, warning that any step taken by one of the arms to undermine the independence of the other arms is an invitation to anarchy. He called on the Attorney General of Imo State to advise the governor on this matter.

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Meanwhile, the NBA has obtained injunction restraining the state government or its agents from demolishing any part of the Owerri High Court situated along Orlu Road Owerri. Mr. Lawrence Nwakaeri therefore advised the government to obey the injunction, reminding the governor that violation of the order of court is a breach of the constitution which is impeachable.

He also shaded some light on the issue of the relocation of the high court because of its current location on the high way by which noise could affect court sessions. He said NBA was not against relocation but advised that the permanent site should be ready before relocation. He said there are stories suggesting that structures are being constructed at the permanent site. He condemned the action, pointing out that the executive cannot build structures for judiciary because judiciary knows what it needs.


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