Edo pensioners protest alleged diversion of bailout fund

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The protesting pensioners protest in Edo State

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Scores of aggrieved pensioners who retired from the service of the Edo State Government and Local Government Councils, on Wednesday protested the alleged non-payment of their pension and gratuity arrears of between five and 42 months, since 2008.

The placard-bearing pensioners also decried the non-payment of the mandatory three-month salaries in lieu of retirement, between 1996 and 2000 by the state government.

They noted that the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, had reneged on his last May Day workers celebration promises to settle their pension’s entitlements by last month.

The Coordinator of the aggrieved pensioners, Gabriel Osewmenkha, urged Obaseki to judiciously utilize the N23.56 billion bailout funds allegedly received from the Federal Government between 2016 and early this year to pay their pensions.

Osemwegie noted that a judicious utilization of the funds as directed by the federal government would no doubt settle all the outstanding pension arrears and gratuities of state and local governments’ pensioners.

They alleged that the state government had made the plights of both State and local government pensioners worse than that of Internally Displaced Pensions (IDPs) by the state government.

Some of their placards bore inscriptions like: “Mr. Governor, fulfill your 2017 May Day promises to Edo State pensioners (state/local government) without any further delay.”

They further alleged that “the non-utilization of the money allegedly set aside by the immediate past administration to pay the omitted pensioners of 2010 and 2011 by the present administration outside the bailout funds from Abuja, non-disbursement of the N11.38 billion (1st tranche) and N12.18 billion (2nd trance) of the Paris refund released by the Presidency for the payment of all the outstanding salaries and pension entitlements to both local and State pensioners of Edo state, as directed by the Presidency.”

He, however, called on the state government to put necessary machinery in place to commence the payment of pensions entitlements to all state and local government pensioners.

Culled from here

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