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Aggrieved Benue pensioners task Ortom on 33 months arrears

By Joseph Wantu, Makurdi
23 October 2021   |   4:25 am
Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

Ortom. Photo/facebook/benuestategovernment

• Gov Laments Paddling Of Teachers’ Wage Bill By SUBEB

Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.

Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.

But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.

Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.

He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”

The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.

Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.

RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.

Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.

The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.

If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.

According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.

Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.

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