Edo Pensioners Protest 42 Months’ Arrears, Gratuity

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

No fewer than 500 pensioners who retired from the service of the Edo State Government on Monday took to the streets in protest of 42 months’ pension arrears.

The pensioners who carried their protest round major roads in Benin and ended up at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Press centre, said most of them who retired from the service between 2013 and 2016 were yet to be paid their gratuities.

Armed with banners with various inscriptions such as, “Edo pensioners are more displaced internally than the IDPs” urged the government to constitute the state pensions board.

Spokesman of the group, Mr Gabriel Osemwenkha, said as a result the non-payment of their gratuities and pensions, the pensioners find it difficult to cope with the present economic reality.

He noted that while some have passed on as a result of the non-payment, others have found it difficult to send their children to school due to lack of fund.

“We appeal to our royal fathers, politicians, elder statesmen, mothers, the clergy and all well meaning citizens of the state to prevail on the state government to pay arrears of pension entitlements to over one thousand deprived pensioners.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the state government had delayed the payment of arrears of pension ranging from 10 to 42 months as a result of which pensioners have been groaning in penury and pains.

“Contrary to claims that the government does now owe state retirees, the government has refused to commence payment of pension with effect from the date of retirement as stipulated in civil service pension law,” Osamwekha stated.