By Joseph Wantu
Pensioners in Benue State have resorted to divine intervention over the unpaid 11 months pension arrears by the State government.
Expressing their grievances, after the prayers, Chairman of the Concerned Pensioners, Peter Kyado stated that they had embarked on a three-day sensitization and prayer 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 11 months arrears dating back to 2014 as well as upgrading of their monthly pensions.
According to the pensioners: “As it is, we cannot afford to pay our children’s school fees, we are dying because we cannot afford drugs for ourselves, our homes are finished.”
At the Government House Gate, the pensioners knelt down to pray that Governor Ortom gets money to attend to their challenges and further called on Almighty God to destroy demons tormenting development in the state.
Responding to the cry by the pensioners at the Cool Off Park Makurdi, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, represented by the Acting secretary to the state government, Dr Bem Melladu, promised to meet with pensioners in the state soon to discuss possible ways of alleviating the challenges confronting the elder statesmen.
Dr Melladu informed the pensioners that Governor Ortom, who was out of the state on official assignment, had asked him to interact with them on his behalf.
He expressed appreciation for their orderliness and composure in articulating their challenges adding that they did insult anyone during their presentation.
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.