– Governor Samuel Ortom promised to look into the problem of unpaid gratuities and pensions
– Pensioners in the state have taken to the gate of the Government House to sleep in protest
– The protesters vowed to continue sleeping at the gate until their pensions are paid
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has described as shameful his inability to pay pensioners their pensions and gratuities.
The pensioners who have taken to the Government House since Wednesday, September 4 have refused the governor’s plea to vacate.
They vowed to continue to sleep in front of the Government House until their gratuities and pensions which they said amount to N25 billion are paid.
The pensioners said they had not been paid for 25 months.
Governor Ortom in his reaction said he was ashamed his government was owing them.
He said: “I’m ashamed that my government has been unable to meet its financial obligation to the pensioners, who are senior citizens.”
He described the situation as sad but promised to address the plight.
Ortom said when he assumed office, he met N17 billion and N34 billion as gratuity and pension arrears respectively and had reduced the amount before Benue found itself in some financial problems.
He said he has obtained a bank overdraft of N611 million and that “between Monday and Tuesday the pensioners will be paid two- month pensions.”
Recall that protesting Benue state pensioners on Sunday, September 8 held a prayer session at the Government House’s gate, Markurdi, over unpaid N25 billion pension arrears and gratuities.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who monitored the prayer session organised by concerned pensioners, reports that the senior citizens had since September 4, been sleeping under rain and sunshine at the gate to drive home their demand.
Legit.ng gathers that the pensioners are demanding payment of over 20 months’ pension arrears and gratuity, amounting to N25 billion, owed them by the state government.
Reading from the bible in the book of 1st Kings, chapter 12, verses three to 10, while preaching a sermon, Pastor John Awaodi urged the pensioners not to give up hope.
He said that God was with them since they were demanding their legitimate income.
Addressing the pensioners at the prayer session, their leader, Peter Ikyado, said that they were not tired and would continue to sleep at the gate until paid.
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