Retirees in Edo State have held an inter-denominational church service to push for the payment of their pension arrears and other retirement benefits.
The senior citizens have been protesting since mid-2015 to call on the State government to pay them their pension arrears of up to 42 months.
Some of them said they were yet to be paid their gratuities, a situation they claimed had been worsened by the closure of the State Pensions Board by the immediate past administration.
Speaking on Wednesday during a church service held at the Teachers’ House in Benin City, the state capital, one of the retirees, Mr. Gabriel Osemwenkhai lamented that government has only paid lips service to the plight of pensioners in the state.
“How we manage to survive is only by God’s grace, pensioners in this state are suffering. We can only hope and pray that the governor keeps his promise of clearing all pension matters by the end of June,” he said.
Another pensioner, Mr. Lucky Ikpomwosa, who urged the State government to look into the issue of pension harmonisation, said: “The government should also commence pension harmonisation in the state which is a legal right of retirees.
“Things are getting more expensive by the day but the pension remains the same, this is totally unfair to those of us who have deployed our youthful days working to build this state and the country”.
The pensioners noted that the struggle to get their entitlements has been a lengthy one characterised by a number of protests in Benin City.
Despite their agitations, the senior citizens, however, said they are thankful to God for sustaining them thus far.