From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Over 500 pensioners have died in Benue State as a result of government failure to pay their pension and gratuities.
Chairman, Concerned Benue Pensioners Peter Kyado made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen yesterday when over 100 pensioners thronged Benue State Government House in Makurdi, to protest the nonpayment of over 25 months pensions and gratuities owed them.
The pensioners who trekked from high level area to the State House which is about 5 km, carried placards some of which read: ‘Pay us 25 months arrears and gratuities. Enough is enough. The Governor has been out of the State for three (3) weeks in USA and Japan, what for? To spend money while pensioners are dying at home.’God dey and He shall be the judge in the case between Ortom and pensioners’.
They also, brought along camp beds, mattresses and mats which they spread in front of the government house and lay on them even as security operatives watched on.
Peter Kyado lamented over the treatment meted out to them by the State government.
He said they have written several letters to the state government which were not attended to,adding that last weekend they issued a notice for this protest which government also, turned a blind to.
“We held a meeting with the Deputy Governor Engr. Benson Abounu on Monday 2nd, 2019 and told us that the Governor travelled to Abuja so we should wait for him until he returns and we begged him to pay us just one month to feed our family. We cannot even afford the cheapest food to feed our family, More than 27 pensioners die every week. So far, over 500 pensioners have died in the State. We are prepared to stay and occupy the government house until the Governor comes back”, Kyado said.
As at the time of filing this report, no government official had addressed the pensioners who were lying under the scorching sun.
Attempts to get the reaction of the State Commissioner for Information Mrs Ngunan Addingi failed as she replied in a text message saying, ‘sorry I can’t talk to you now.