Benue Pensioners Storm The Streets To Protest Non-Payment Of Their 10 Months Arrears, Gratuity [PHOTOS]
The placards carrying erderly protesters who blocked the main gate of the state secretariat for several minutes and advanced towards the sprawling building housing the various ministries but for the interception of security agents also said they were demanding a “harmonization of their pensions after 16 years”, adding, “is it not a disgrace that Benue State pay some pensioners N800 only as monthly pensions?
“Mr Head of Service, Sir, we disagree with the policy of selective payment of gratuities as an inherently very bad policy of this administration….The policy should be discontinued forthwith, in the interest of all pensioners in the state.”
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Many local governments’ pensioners yet to be hooked on the payroll. Do it now!!!;” “Towards the end of 2016, the governor promised to clear all outstanding pensions, gratuity and salaries, the promise is yet to be fulfilled;” “we are unable to buy our drugs,” etc.
Addressing the pensioners, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Odeh Ageh, joined by his Ministry of Finance counterpart, David Olofu, conveyed the assurance of Governor Samuel Ortom administration to a group of retirees saying the government was commitment to the payment of both regular and arrears of pensions.
Though the commissioners agreed with the pensioners that most of their challenges and the plight were inherited from the previous administration, the Ortom government did not rest on its oars in addressing them, even as they assured the government would do more.
The commissioner for finance pointed to the setting aside of one hundred million naira every month for the payment of pensions as a part evidence of the Ortom administration’s commitment to the pensioners’ welfare.
He stated however that due to the paucity of funds the ministry adopted the selective method of payment with the consent of the pensioners as opposed to paying across board, but since the pensioners no longer wanted the method he would explore better options.