Some aggrieved pensioners in Benue State on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest to demand 34 and 74 months of arrears of pension and gratuity owed them at the state and local government levels respectively.
Naija News reports that the pensioners, who are generally regarded as senior citizens, lamented that they have lost their wives to Okada men because they could no longer provide for their needs.
About 200 of them took off from Ken Ville Park and walked around the city center chanting solidarity songs while bearing placards bearing inscriptions such as “All We Are Saying Give Us Our Pension And Gratuity Mr Governor”, “Mr Governor, Defender of Benue Valley, Please Defend Us Pensioners Too Otherwise We Die Finish”, “Mr Governor, Pay Us Our Pension And Gratuities. We Too Need Money To Eat,” among others.
Addressing newsmen, the Chairman of the aggrieved pensioners, Mr Akosu Ugba said they are holding a peaceful protest to demand their pay and to also let the whole world know what they are going through.
“We have gathered to tell the whole world what is happening to us. We want to let the world know that we are hungry, that we have been maltreated.
“We have not been paid for 34 months and 74 months at state and local government levels respectively. We are asking the government to pay us our 34 months and 74 months arrears at the state and local government levels respectively.
“Our children no longer go to school because we cannot afford their school fees. We have lost our wives to Okada people because we are no longer economically productive. We cannot do anything. Some of our people are dying because they are on special drugs, some on special diets but cannot afford them again.”
Ugba claimed that over 500 members have so far died, lamenting that Benue pensioners are dying silently following the inhuman treatment and the attendant psychological trauma they were going through.
“We had gone to government house when we protested earlier but the speaker told us that the bailout that was released by the federal government does not cover pension.
“Now that the Paris Club refund has been released at the same time with the federal allocation, they should pay us six months out of the 34 and 74 months being owed to alleviate our suffering and stabilize us and thereafter pay two months consecutively until the backlog of the arrears is cleared. This is our demand,” the chairman said.
Source: Naija News