Benin city- Edo state Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu has said that Edo state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has put necessary machinery in place to ensure self-sustaining state and Local Governments instead of the one relying only on handouts and bailouts to meet its statutory obligations.
Comrade Shaibu made this known yesterday while addressing members of the National Union of Pensioners,Edo state chapter who were in Government House to protest the non payment of their retirement entitlements and pension arrears of between five to forty-two months.
Comrade Shaibu who lauded the aggrieved pensioners over the peaceful manner they conducted themselves,appealed to the senior citizens to exercise little more patience assuring that government is already handling their issues including local governments inability to pay their workers salaries.
He told them that most of the issues they raised had been tabled before the Governor and that measures are being taken to address them once and for all. He added that government was aware of their sufferings and pains,coupled with the recession, but that government is not insensitive, but wants to address all the issues once any body coming back to protest or appeal for bailout.
“From our assessment so for on the eighteen local governments of the state,we discovered that each of them is capable of fending for themselves if the leadership is right, and that is why the Governor put a committee in place to look into their problems so that we can bring them to final end. How long are we going to be looking for bailout? Mr Governor as an investment wants to see a local government that can fend for itself and pay its workers salaries without state or federal government assistance and the one that pays its workers salaries between 24 to 30th of every month as it is at the state level.
Meanwhile,the Deputy Governor has invited leaders of the protesting group for a meeting with him and the committee looking into their issues to know the extent of work done.
Speaking earlier,leader of protesting pensioners Mr Gabriel Osemwenkhai who said the group was made up of members drawn from both state and local government ,appealed to Governor Obaseki to urgently attend to their demands as the non payment has made life very difficult for them. He lamented that most of them can not even feed their families not to talk about paying children’s school fees among other basic needs.
They also called on the Governor to urgent do something about the pension Board that is currently shut down to give them hope of attempt to truly address their problems. According to them,most of their members who got retired for over two years now have not been enrolled and those who did have their files locked up in the pension Board.