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The National Industrial Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital , on Wednesday , issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the state government and its agents from further slashing of pensions due to the pensioners of the state .

Delivering judgment in suit number NICN / OW / 144/ 2017, which was instituted by the pensioners against the state government, Justice Olufunke Anuwe said that the state government did not have the right to alter pensions due to pensioners.

Justice Anuwe , in the judgment, held that pension matters, as contained in Section 201 of the 1999 Constitution, were constitutional matters and could not be altered by a state government .

The judge frowned on what she described as the failure of the defence counsel to defend the actions of the defendants . She said, “ It is unfortunate that the defence counsel rather than defend the actions of the defendants resorted to deny their actions.”

She said that from the whitepaper tendered , it was clear to the court that the form issued to the state pensioners to sign off 60 per cent of their pensions , while collecting only 40 per cent came from the state government .

According to judge , the defence counsel did not counter the evidence but only claimed that the defendants did not issue any form to pensioners .

Justice Anuwe asserted that until the relevant sections of the constitution were amended , any action to tamper with pensions was illegal .

The Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association , Owerri branch, Lawrence Nwakaeti , who spoke to our correspondent shortly after the judgment was delivered said , ‘ the rule of law has prevailed over the rule of man which the Imo State Government symbolises ’.

NBA handled the matter for the retirees for free .

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