Retirees of the Cross River State Government on Friday blocked the entrance to the Government House, Calabar, to protest the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities for eight years.
The pensioners, who prevented vehicular movement into the governor’s office, said they were tired of hearing stories every time they asked for their entitlements.
Speaking with journalists, Eyo Eyo, the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, (NUP), Calabar Branch, said it was quite unfortunate the way retirees were being treated since July 2013.
“Many of us were last paid pension in 2020, while 99 per cent of us are being owed since September, we don’t understand the logic behind selective payment of pensions and gratuities.
“Interestingly, many of the pensioners collect as low as N4,000 some get N7,500 while others get a little above N15,000 and N20,000 which is amongst the highest, why are we still being owed?
“We have appealed severally to the government and at this point, we are tired of writing, they are claiming that the governor is not aware of our plight.
“We have brought ourselves to his doorpost, we need money for upkeep, many have died, countless are bedridden, we are dying daily,” he said.
Another retiree, Francis Henshaw, who said their conditions had become appalling, added that the governor neither had regards for old people nor senior citizens.
Mr Henshaw stated that many of the people he retired with were either dead or bedridden. “I am grateful to be alive and healthy,” he said.
He added that the way they were being treated was unfair and that they could no longer bear it.
Addressing the retirees, Alfred Mboto, Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Governor’s Office, said it was unfortunate that the situation had degenerated to the present state.
Mr Mboto said that when he came, he saw mothers and fathers in the sun, and that he knew that they wanted to see the governor directly, but he was in a meeting at the House of Assembly.
“Truly, I have seen your plight, and I can say that nobody will see this and not understand that you are in pain, but I am assuring you that we will do everything possible to address your demands.
“The issue of pension affects all of us, I have a few years now and I will join you people. And so, anybody who is in this way and is not supporting the payment of retirees’ entitlements, I do not think that person is reasonable.
“The government is doing everything possible to make sure that the pensions and gratuities are paid,” the permanent secretary said.
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