Protesting Pensioners Block Govt House in Niger State

Retired civil servants in Niger State on Wednesday protested the non-payment of their pension and gratuity by the state government.

The retirees, carrying placards with various inscriptions and singing songs of protest, blocked the roads to the Government House in Minna and vowed to continue the protest until Governor Abubakar Bello gives them a solid promise on when their entitlements would be paid.

The Chairman of the Pensioners, Mr. Ibrahim Mahmud, said that they decided to storm the Government House for the second time in less than a month because of the nonchalant attitude of the state government to their plight. Mahmud said that despite assurances from the state government that their entitlements would be paid, nothing meaningful has come their ways.

The pensioners said, “Our members have continued to die from very avoidable sicknesses and diseases because we had the misfortune of serving Niger State Government. At a time we are supposed to enjoy the reward of our labour, we are being punished. We have become people without any hope, homeless, some of our children have been sent home because we can’t afford to pay their school fees.”

The State Deputy Governor, Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, addressed the protesters on behalf of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, and assured them that their grievances are receiving the desired attention. Ketso said the state government is aware of their plight and “is doing all that is within its power to put smiles on their faces”.

He said “the last time you were here, I was unavailable, but the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed Mantene, received you and briefed the government accordingly. Only yesterday, the state government had a very frank but fruitful discussion with the organised labour in the state to chart a way forward. I can assure you that government and labour are discussing on the best possible way to resolve the impasse.”

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