Benue Pensioners Left to Suffer

John Agbo, a 75-year-old retired primary school teacher from Obi Local Government Area of Benue State, spoke in anguish when WikkiTimes contacted him over the phone on Friday.

Agbo who retired in 2011, recounted how he struggles to stay afloat life amid the hardships induced by the government’s negligence.

“Life has not been easy in the past three months,” he told WikkiTimes. “I have hoped and my hope has been dashed. When I voted for the new governor, my thinking was a different story coming through but today the old story still continues.”

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He gave an account of how the government of Samuel Ortom paid pensions in unclear terms.

“During the past administration of Samuel Ortom, they pay without indicating the month of payment sometimes they pay once in three or four months depending on what they want,” he lamented.

Agbo, who has been battling with his health, narrated how keeping up with his medication has been a big challenge for him.

“As it stands, because of my age, I have been advised by a doctor to keep taking my medication, which costs above N5,000 a month. I’m here suffering and my money is in the hands of some corrupt few,” said Agbo. “I hope my own story won’t end soon just like a few of my colleagues who have died in the past years.”

Like Agbo, 79-year-old Terdoo Elija, from Guma LGA retired about 15 years ago. He had since resorted to farming to sustain his family.

“When I was in active service, all we used to hear was that retirement is a time to take care of oneself but I’m here today,” the retire teacher muttered. “It is even difficult to have food to eat daily, I resorted to agricultural practice after my years in active service but today getting money to finance my farm is a problem.”

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“As I speak, life has continued to go from bad to worse; it has not been easy for me and my family,” Elija decried.

The duo believes life can only get better if the government decides to see them as reasonable people worth taking care of in the state. They urged the government to pay their pensions.

Benue State Council of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners had on August 8, issued an ultimatum to the government regarding the payment of local government pensioners in the state.

The union threatened to stage a protest if the government failed to meet its demand before August 16.

It demanded that the state government pay all local government pensioners their three months’ pension arrears without delay.

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