Pensioners across Delta State under the aegis of Contributory Retirees Association have taken to the streets to complain of their outstanding payments and the neglect of the state in implementing the contribution pension scheme.
The pension protesters, led by Mr Eric Owviroro, took their protest to the State Pensions Board, State Secretariat and the State House of Assembly, where they were received by some government officials.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Owviroro expressed the grievances of the pensioners to the Commissioner who came out to receive them.
The retirees, who gathered from different ministries in the state, defied the scorching sun, asking the state government to do the needful and address this issue.
Meanwhile, few days after the protest, the State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, called a meeting which held at the Unity Hall to discuss the issues of the pensioners’ protest, which he said had been politicized, describing their actions as mischievous.
He disclosed that the State Government pays out the sum of N1.2 billion monthly as pension to retired civil servants in the state and has contributed over N18 billion since 2007 when it started implementing the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Members of the Contributory Retirees Association, who were involved in the protest, were not present at the meeting as it was gathered that they refused to honor the invitation. Some persons, however, alleged that they were not actually invited.
Although the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Delta State chapter, Ogbueshi Robert Chukwuyem, claimed that the association was unaware of the protest, he apologized for the actions of the association, attributing their action to misinformation. He disclosed that plans were ongoing to integrate members of the association into the NUP as an umbrella body of all pensioners in Nigeria.
At the end of the meeting, it was revealed that the State Government has since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme made a counterpart contribution of over N18 billion, with workers contributing over N13 billion to the fund. The money is with the PFAs (Pension Fund Administrators).
Present in this meeting was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Adujah; Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun Kenneth Okpara, and Chairman, State Pension Board, Mrs Christian Siakpere, alongside the Accountant-General of the state.