Scores of protesting pensioners in Imo State were on Tuesday morning beaten up and flogged by some suspected thugs in front of the state government house.
The pensioners were also attacked with some buckets of water when they matched from Wayhouse Roundabout, Owerri.
The Nation correspondent, who witnessed the incident, reports that when the pensioners got to the state government house, some youths also accosted and attacked them.
As they were trying to defend themselves, more youths emerged from an unmarked bus with canes and started flogging and beating the retirees.
Emboldened by the attack, the senior citizens fought back the attackers as some of their members particularly women sustained some injuries.
It took the intervention of the assistant commissioner of police, Mr. A. J. Moses and a team of anti-cult policemen to stop the attack.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the pensioners, Dr. Ebenezer Ibekwe accused the state government of hiring thugs to disrupt their protest over unpaid pensions.
Ibekwe said, “How can you owe an old man like me and declare him a ghost pensioner and still don’t want me to demand my entitlements? Already, they detained our leaders using the DSS. The thugs they hired were flogging pensioners with canes because we said we are not ghost pensioners as they are tagging us”
When contacted, the senior special assistant to Governor Hope Uzodimma on print media, Modestus Nwamkpa, denied the allegation that the government sent thugs to flog pensioners.
Nwamkpa said however that the state government is frowning at an illegal protest in the state.
According to him, “the government has discovered that most of the protesters are not pensioners but members of the opposition being used to discredit the performances of the Hope Uzodimma administration in the state.”