Benue State retirees who commenced an indefinite protest on Wednesday defied the torrential rain on Thursday to continue their demonstration over unpaid pensions and gratuities.
The aggrieved pensioners had since Wednesday around 10.30am, occupied the Government House in Makurdi demanding immediate payment of their 25-month pension arrears and gratuities.
Despite the downpour, which lasted five hours, the senior citizens refused to vacate the gate to the Government House.
They also blocked the entrances leading to various offices within the Government House complex thereby preventing members of staff from gaining access into their offices.
The Chairman of the pensioners, Peter Kyado, insisted that “the protest will continue come rain or sunshine.”
According to him, his members are not bothered about their safety anymore, saying that they are ready to remain under the rain until their 25-month pension arrears and gratuities are fully paid by the state government.
“We slept here yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning, we have woken up here to continue with the protest. There is no going back. We will not depart from this Government House come rain, come sunshine until our demands are met.
“We are not preventing people or workers from entering the Government House premises or offices, but security personnel attached to the Government House closed all the entrance gates against us and we have no problem with that. But when the members of staff or people come around to enter their offices, once they see us, they turn back.
“We don’t know why they (workers) are behaving like that. Since yesterday (Wednesday) this main entrance gate had been under lock and key.
“Like I said earlier, we are peace-loving old men and women who mean no harm to the government, all that we are saying is that government should give us our entitlements,” Kyado lamented.
Reacting to inquiries from our correspondent on what the government was doing to grant the senior citizens’ demands, the Benue State Commissioner for Information, Mrs Ngunna Adingi, said government was not resting on its oars to address the problem of pensioners.
“We are meeting and not resting. On our part, certainly, we will address them and very soon, everything will be sorted out,” she said.
Source: Punch News