Some pensioners in Bayelsa State on Wednesday held a peaceful protest at the Government House, Yenagoa, with a call on the state government to settle its four-month arrears.
Protesting under the banner of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Bayelsa Chapter, the pensioners began their peaceful demonstration from St. Peter’s Primary School, Ovom, carrying placards with various inscriptions to drive home their demands.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Pensioners are dying every day; please pay us our gratuities; Dickson, be good to pensioners”.
The Caretaker Committee Chairman, Bodi Amarah, said the protest was to call government’s attention in order to settle their four months pension arrears.
“We are not protesting for disorder but all we want from Bayelsa government is to pay us our four month arrears; we have serve the state and retired after the 35 years.
“Most of us do not have any other work doing for a livelihood; our children school fees is from that stipend, so, we want the state government to pay us.
“Our members are dying every day because the money is not regular; we have been denied our gratuity and harmonisation”, he said.
Another pensioner, Tarigboro Happy-John, who retired as Director of Primary Research, Post Primary School Board in 2009, said the protest was necessary.
“Let the government pay us our money, we were paid last in August and what we are crying for now is four month arrears; let the benefits of our late colleagues been paid because we have done our 35 years meticulous service.
“Our pension is not negotiable or used for politics; let it been paid to us to enable us feed our family”, he said.
Receiving the protesters on behalf of Governor Seriake Dickson, his Chief of Staff, Talford Ongolo, said government would soon address the matter.
While calling on the protesting pensioners to maintain peace and order for the betterment of the state, Mr. Ongolo said: “We want you to organise yourselves and let us go on a round table discussion because settling issues need to be on dialogue”.