A group under the ageis of the Concerned/Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State on Wednesday protested against an alleged 74-month unpaid entitlement.
The pensioners led by their chairman, Comrade Akosu Ioream, took to the streets of Makurdi, the Benue State capital in their numbers with placards bearing various inscriptions to press home their demand.
Ioream who led the protesters to the state’s House of Assembly to meet with the Speaker, Titus Uba, said that their mission was to acquaint Uba with their plights so that he can persuade the governor to accede to their demands.
He said that the pensioners were being owed by the government between 37 and 74 months pension arrears at the state and local government level respectively while the backlog of gratuity had become a forgotten issue.
“As a result of non-payment of pension and gratuity, pensioners are dying on a daily basis as most of them are on a special diet and drugs but could not afford even a maintenance ration or drugs. This has caused untold hardship to pensioners including the inability to afford decent food.
“Because of hardship occasioned by non-payment of pension and gratuity, we have lost our wives to ‘okada boys’ since we are no longer economically viable to cater for them,” Ioream said.
The protesters added that the state government has not harmonised the pensions and gratuity payable to retirees as some of them are still being paid N800 per month.
Responding, the deputy clerk, Oliver Aguda, who received the protesters told them that the Speaker of the House who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, had travelled out of the town.