By Lucky Isibor
Aggrieved members of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), Edo state has issued 14-Day ultimatum to the state government to resolve all outstanding pension issues.
The chairman of NUP, Mr. Gabriel Osemwenkhai, said pensioners will resume its street protest which they suspended few months ago if the government fail to respond to their plight.
The pensioners demands include payment of outstanding pension arrears, gratuities for 2012/2013 retirees and harmonization allowances which the government were yet to implement.
Osemwenkhai who disclosed this at a meeting with members of the union at Teachers’ house Wednesday in Benin, confirmed the death of two of its members recently.
While appealing to the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to take urgent steps to address the issues, said: ” one of our colleagues, a pensioner slumped and died recently while walking in the street, while a second one slippeded into the well in front of his house because of frustration”.
Recalled that the state government Committee to look into pensioners issues including batch 22 pensioners have not screened since 2011 and were yet to be paid.
Mrs. Aiguobarueghian Irene, retired Secondary school teacher in 2014, said the state government made payment for batch 40 last week, excluding batches 41 to 59 pensioners.
She said since the horse-trading begun between pensioners and the government, the Committee meant last in January 2018.
Aiguobarueghian also revealed that some Local government staff, primary and Secondary schools teachers who retired in 2008 till date have not been paid their pension entitlements
Reverend Friday Amadi, retired Secondary Schoolsteacher, said: “I was among the retirees who were screened in April 10, 2017. As it were before, when you are screened and my yellow card (evidence of authorization to pay) was collected with a pledge to pay within one week”.
Mean while, the Edo State Government has called on pensioners in batches 41 and 42 to present themselves for physical and documentary verification exercise.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary/Chairman, Pension Bureau, Inih-ivibodohu Juwobor, the state government said the verification exercise for those in batches 41 and 42 will take place at the Imaguero Hall, Benin City on Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th and March 2018.”
Juwobor said those who missed the exercise in the past will be allowed to partake in the exercise so that they can claim their arrears.
According to him, “Pensioners in batches 37, 38, 39 and 40 who failed to participate in previous verification exercise will be verified and screened alongside pensioners in batches 41 and 42.”
He urged the pensioners to check the Office of the Head of Service on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd March 2018 for the list of pensioners in batches 41 and 42, adding, “Pensioners whose names appeared on the list should go to the venue of the verification exercise with: Pension Authority; Retirement Letter; Letter of First Appointment; Pension I.D. Card; Biometric Slip and Bank details including bank name and Account Number.”
“At the end of the verification exercise, the outstanding pension arrears will be credited into the pension account of each pensioner, shortly after due process and documentation by the relevant agencies involved in the payment process, are concluded,” he added.