HUNDREDS of pensioners under the auspices of Concerned Pensioners in Benue State, marched to the government house yesterday to protest the non-payment of their pension allowance running to 11 months.
The vice chairman of the group, Mrs Stella Sarah Peters who spoke to newsmen said that over 20 pensioners died in the state last year due to non-payment of their pension allowance.
She threatened that the women wing of the group would march half naked on the streets of the capital city to protest the neglect of government over their plights.
While breaking down figures of those who lost their lives, Mrs Peters said that five of the deceased pensioners died in Makurdi while over 15 others died across the state, their death, she attributed to non-payment of their 11 months pension allowance.
According to her, ‘in Makurdi alone, five pensioners lost their lives due to their inability to go for treatment because of lack of money, we have more than 15 of those who died in the other parts of the state’.
“We are tired of “continuous failed promises” by the state government on the payment of our pension arrears. For eleven months now, nothing has been given to us. Last year we only heard the governor promised to release 400million naira for payment of pension and gratuity but up till now, nobody knows what happen to the money”.
Earlier, the pensioners had stormed the seat of government and offered prayer to God to intervene in their plights as the state government remains obdurate to their
The Acting Secretary to the Government stated that Governor Ortom had directed monthly releases for payment of pensions at the state and local government levels as well as new enrolment of retirees on the payroll and that his directives had been complied with.
The pensioners had earlier marched to the gate of Government House where they held a prayer session and requested God to intervene on their behalf and enable the state government to address their challenges.
Chairman of the Concerned Pensioners, Comrade Peter Kyado stated that they had embarked on a three-day sensitization procession to the Head of Service, the House of Assembly and Government House to remind the government about their plight.
The pensioners stated that their challenges included the non-payment of arrears dating back to 2014 as well as upgrading of their monthly pensions.