Benue pensioners protest over six years’ unpaid entitlements by Gov. Ortom
A group of pensioners under the aegis of the Concerned/Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State have staged a protest against the Governor Samuel Ortom-led state government over the nonpayment of their entitlements in the past six years and two months (74 months).
The aggrieved retirees led by their Chairman, Akosu Loream, took to the streets of Makurdi, the State capital in their numbers, carrying placards with various inscriptions demanding immediate payment of their entitlements.
It was gathered that Loream who led the protesters to the state House of Assembly to meet with the Speaker, Titus Uba, said that their mission was to acquaint the House Speaker with their plights so that he could persuade the governor to attend to their demands.
The pensioners lamented that the retirees were being owed by the government between 37 and 74 months pension arrears at the state and local government levels respectively while the backlog of gratuities had become a forgotten issue.
Loream said, “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 to them.”
The pensioners further lamented that the state government had not harmonised the pensions and gratuity payable to retirees as some of them were still being paid N800 per month.
In his response to the protesters, the Deputy Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Oliver Aguda, who received them on behalf of the Speaker said that Uba, who is also the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate had travelled out of the state.