Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State pensioners on Thursday took to the streets in Asaba, the state capital, to protest more than two years of non-payment by the government of their pension and gratuity under the state Contributory Pension Scheme.
The protest was, however, peaceful throughout with policemen and other security personnel following the long line of weary-looking old and not so old men and women at a distance.
The protesters walked in procession-like fashion through Okpanam Road, Inter-Bau Roundabout/Flyover and Anwai Road up to the Government House Main Gate, a distance of over five kilometers.
They eventually blocked the Government House gates with their bodies for over an hour and prevented incoming and outgoing human and vehicular movement at the gate.
The protesters first marched to the Delta State House of Assembly but were unable to present their complaint to the Speaker, Hon Monday Igbuya and other principal officials of the house because the assembly did not sit on Thursday.
The protesters, some of who supported themselves with walking sticks, defied early morning rain in Asaba, trekking about five kilometers from the “Labour House” off Okpanam Road, where they converged inside the rain as early as 9.45am, to the main gate of the Government House, on Anwai Road, Asaba.
They said that their grouse was basically the failure of the state government to settle their outstanding payments as well as the alleged nonchalance of the government regarding the implementation of the contributory pension scheme in the state.
The retirees said that they had to resort to protesting on the streets and marching on the government house simply to draw Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s attention to their plight as entreaties and promises by the government to address their matter had yielded no fruits.
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