By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
Members of Edo Aggrieved Pensioners consisting of local and state government have met with Edo Civil Society Organisations ( EDOCSO) to seek their support in agitating for their gratuities and pensions which is running into years of backlogs.
Chairman of the Edo Aggrieved Pensioners, Barrister Gabriel Osemwenkha speaking with leaders of EDOSCO at the civil society group Secretariat in Benin City, lamented the anguish and sufferings of their members due to the non payment of their pension and gratuities.
He narrated their meeting with Governor Godwin Obaseki, who he alleged threatened to arrest him and his members with police and subsequently send them to jail if they continue to demand for their gratuities and pensions by continually staging protests at the city centre.
He wondered why the governor will resort to threatening them with arrest for requesting for legitimate and constitutional rights, noting that the state government has deliberately refused to use the Paris Club refund to clear all arrears as instructed by President Buhari.
He also revealed how some of the older pensioners still receive below N2, 000 as pension monthly without periodic reviews as stipulated in the law.
He pleaded with the leadership of EDOCSO not to abandon them in this period of torment with intermittent loss of members to death due to hunger and sickness, owing to non payment of their retirement entitlements.
Responding, the Coordinator-General of Edo Civil Society Organisations, Comrade Omobude Agho appreciated their reach out to the group and decried the high level of government insensitivity to the plight of senior citizens who have sacrificed the better part of their lives in building social, political and economic strongholds for the state.
He was almost moved to tears when his attention was drawn to the fact that pensioners still receive about N2, 000 a month.
Comrade Agho was emphatic in saying that government must not be comfortable seeing old men, women, fathers and mothers putting themselves in the sun and rain protesting for what ordinarily is their legitimate right.