Niger Pensioners block Govt. House Roads , Protests non payment of Gratuities.
By Aisha Wakaso Minna.
Pensioners in Niger state have staged a protest blocking the Niger state government house over unpaid pensions Arrears and gratuities.
The pensioners who were not deterred by the rain protested from the Union Secretariat, through Justice legbo kutigi conference center Minna to the Government house on Monday morning.
The Pensioners were carrying placards with inscriptions, “payment of pension in percentage not acceptable,pay Us our gratuity now”and Pensioners lives matter”, “no gratuity no pension, no vote in 2023”, “we shall occupy Government House Minna until the Governor pay us our benefits.
Comrade Ibrahim Mahmud who spoke to the Secretary to the State Government who represented the governor, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane in the Government house conference hall said they have lost many pensioners as a result of lack of funds to offset medical expenses.
He told the SSG that the state government was insensitive to the plights of pensioners adding that they have been abandoned despite several bailouts and Paris club funds the state had received from the federal government.
” The state has received Paris club fund and bailout funds and we did not benefit. You have made beautiful submissions and you expect us to go home and wait, how long would we wait? Your submissions are far from solving our problems, none of our issues has been resolved. Take your time, we are resolute, we are not going back home, hence we will be at the gate until we are paid out money because the state is not prepared to pay us”he said.
“We will no longer accept payment of gratuities on percentage. Our brothers, sisters and parents are dying, we are dying, and we have no money to feed our families, pay rent or treat ourselves when we are sick. The government has abandoned us. We lost two of our pensioners this morning all because they have no money to treat themselves and feed.
” Ibrahim Matene, SSG, tell the Governor that our protest would continue until we get a concrete resolution before we end the protest. We have over 10,000 pensioners on the ground and we will occupy government house until we are paid.” Mahmud said.
Comrade Mahmud the spokes person of concern pensioners of Niger State told the Ahmed Ibrahim Matene that they were not returning to their homes until they are paid their Pension benefits adding that every explanation they had given in the past was a political statement and unacceptable.
Ahmed Matene denied government’s knowledge of any pensioner who hasn’t been paid their pension and gratuity adding that the government is seeking means to generate funds to settle pension issues since the advent of this administration in 2015 he mentioned.
He further assured that the pension issue would be resolved before the end of the month if goverment source money,”not from the agreement reached from the 16 man committee that was set up by the Governor Dr Abubakar Sani Bello to raise money from Internally generated revenue IGR to settle gratuity.
He agreed that”There are a lot of anomalies in the pension Sector in the state and local government, that we are trying to resolve the íssue since 2015.
He admit that there are ghost pensioners, there are pensioners who are underpaid and those that are receiving more than what they supposed to collect, “there are pensioners who are collecting more than they are supposed to, there are those who have retired but haven’t collected pension and there is non-availability of adequate data of pensioners at the local government level,he disclosed.
“The Government is not deliberately hurting pensioners, it is doing its best within its available resources, if there is any surplus money, the government would puts it into payment of gratuities” he stressed.
Ahmed Ibrahim Matene appealed to the aggrieved Pensioners to give the Governor time, “before the end of this month, we will address all issues related to Pension and gratuity of state and local government Pensioners in the st