A coalition of Civil Society Organisations has condemned the role of the country’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS) in the lingering pension debacle in Imo State.
The group was reacting to the recent incident where leaders of the Pension Intervention Committee were invited by the DSS and grilled for four hours, threatened and warned to quit their agitation for their pensions.
In a statement signed by Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC); Ezenwa Nwagwu, Convener, Say No Campaign Nigeria, and Honourable Ohams Chinedu, a human rights activist, the group lamented the unending plight of pensioners in Imo State and called on all men and women of conscience to add their voices and combine their efforts to demand that decades of injustice against the senior citizens is redressed.
The statement read in part: “We are aware that the two pensioners and leaders of the Pensions Intervention Committee, Iyke Ohaneje and Maurice Amaechi, were invited by the DSS and grilled for upwards of four hours and further threatened and intimidated to quit protesting over their unpaid pensions. As a matter of fact, the leaders said the DSS asked them to leave town!
“And our question is ‘why should the DSS get involved in pensions’ matters?’
“Why would a secret service whose duties are clearly defined by law to be primarily to gather intelligence and uncover threats to internal security dabble into labour disputes and offer itself for hatchet job for state governors?”
The Coalition regretted that successive governments have hidden under different excuses and subterfuge to perpetuate the neglect, deprivation and impoverishment of the aged and retired civil servants, thus subjecting them to lives of untold hardship and frustration.