By Danladi Al-Hassan
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has apologised to protesting pensioners in the state for the failure of successive governments to regularly pay their monthly pension.
Ortom, while addressing the aggrieved pensioners at the main entrance of Benue State Government House, explained that the protracted problem dates back to the previous governments promising that his government would permanently address it.
“The truth is that in 2015 we inherited over N17billion gratuity due to be paid to our pensioners and on pension, we inherited over N34billion at state level in the same 2015,” he said.
“But on the whole, we have paid N18.6billion pension and we have been paying but about N20billion is still outstandingly.
“I want to apologise to you our fathers and mothers, you do not deserve this, it is an unfortunate thing, I feel very sad and I am pained to know that you have been protesting. I know that most of you are on drugs and you deserve your pension to take care of your needs.”
Ortom said some had received alert two days ago and additional N611million had been approved for the payment of April and May arrears to some other retirees who would receive their alerts on Monday or Tuesday next week, stressing that the domestication and inauguration of Pension Commission would also go a long way in addressing the challenge.
While responding, Peter Kyado, Chairman of the Concerned Pensioners, urged the government to fulfil the agreement it had earlier reached with pensioners to end the protest.