Edo pensioners protest 42 months pension arrears

Pensioners in Edo State, yesterday, in Benin, protested the non- harmonization of their pension since 2008.

The pensioners, who protested peacefully to the Government House, were also unhappy over the non-payment of their pension in the last 42 months.

Spokesman of the pensioners, Mr Michael Umogbai, accused the state government of being insensitive to their plight, despite several promises it had made to settle them.

Umogbai recalled that the state House of Assembly had in December 2016 approved about N3 billion to clear the pension arrears.

“As I speak with you, some of us, especially those from the local governments, are owed arrears of up to 42 months. The government has also refused to harmonize pension in the state since 2008.

“I retired as a local government worker in 1996 and I can tell you that while some of us still receive N2, 000 as monthly pension, our counterparts in other states receive about N40, 000,” he said.

Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has vowed that the state will no longer rely on bail out funds or the monthly allocation accrued from the Federation Account to pay pensioners and worker’s salaries in the state.

The governor, who was reacting to the pensioners’ protest, yesterday, noted that as elders who have contributed their quota to the service of their councils, they deserve their pensions, regretting that local government authorities have failed to utilize their funds properly in the areas of payment of pensions to their workers.

The Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Philip Shaibu, who received the pensioners, appealed for more patience, assuring that the pension arrears would be paid soon.

He told them that the government was working to improve its internally generated revenue to ensure that pension and salaries were paid promptly.

“That is why the government is working to shore-up revenue across the local governments.”

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