AGENE GODWIN Benin
Hundreds of aggrieved Pensioners under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Edo state Council Monday took to the streets in Benin city, threatening to boycott the September 10,2016 governorship election.
They also decried the alleged non payment of arrears spanning over 42 months, calling on the Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to immediately address their plight by paying up.
The protesting pensioners during a street protest brandished various placards with inscriptions such as, ” Give us our Pensions Benefits”, ” Pension Benefits Are Economic and Human Rights of Retirees. Pay us for God’s Sake”, and “No Vacuum in Govt, Open Pension Board/Bureau”.
Leading the aggrieved pensioners during the protest, the Chapter State Public Relations Officer (PRO), Comrade Vincent Aigbodion said the challenge before the pensioners is how to fend for their families as they alleged that the Edo state government indebtedness to pensioners is worrisome following the alleged non-payment of pension arrears spanning 7-42 months.
Aigbodion added that until the state government heeds their cries, they are determined on working against the ruling All Progressive Congress APC in the forthcoming governorship election.
” We all have decided that unless Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole pays us our pension arrears, we, our children, wives and families will not come out to vote for this government. We have been told that we will be paid but that is coming only to deceive us to vote again for this government. We want our money, let Oshiomhole pay us as he said he admitted owing us, though not up to the months we are demanding.”
The pensioners who are aged mothers and grandfathers took their protest to major streets in the state capital, asking for the following demands which include, Non- capture of the batchless for immediate monthly payment by ICT office, Unpaid pension arrears of 7-42 months as well as unpaid outstanding gratuity of pensioners.
Other demands which the protesting pensioners are asking for include, the non-issuance of yellow forms to retirees/pensioners, Establishment of Bureau for Edo state pensions/retirees and the harmonization of the monthly pensions/ other benefits to older pensioner in Edo state.
It would be recalled that the pensioners in the state have been having a running battle with the Edo state governor ,Adams Oshiomhole over pensions arrears among other demands, which apparently led to the death of one pensioner during a peaceful protest by the pensioners recently.