”PENSIONER COMMITS SUICIDE IN BENUE OUT OF FRUSTRATION
A retired worker with the Benue State Local Government Service, Mr. Gabriel Nomsha, last week committed suicide following frustration over his inability to get his pension for over three years.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of Coalition of Local Government Pensioners,’ Mike Vembe, who led a protest to Government House Makurdi wednesday.
He said one of their members, due to frustration, hanged himself a week ago. ‘One of our members, Gabriel Nomsha, from Gwer West Local Government Area, committed suicide last week as a result of poverty and frustration.”
He explained that after the deceased had been screened, he came with the hope of collecting his pension but was disappointed when he wasn’t paid.
This is even as 2,000 local government pensioners on Tuesday slept at the gate of the Government House in Makurdi to protest the non-payment of their pension to the tune of N1.1 billion.
The pensioners who came from the 23 local government areas of the state, were said to have arrived the seat of government in Makurdi about noon but could not see the governor and decided to pass the night at the gate of government house.
Efforts by security operatives mounting the gate to disperse them were rebuffed as the senior citizens called their bluff until mother luck smiled at them yesterday morning when Governor Samuel Ortom who was travelling to Abuja, came to address them.
Vambe who led the pensioners, said the protest became necessary after the Ministry of Finance stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board.
“We slept at the gate of the Government House since yesterday to press home our demands for the payment of our pension. The finance ministry stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board and this is causing our hardship.”
Governor Ortom who sympathised with them, said their welfare was of utmost importance to his government and promised to do everything possible to clear their pension arrears.
Ortom immediately directed his Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Titus Zam, to include one of their leaders.”
Culled from http://www.wetndey.com
My take is that State Governors are toying with the constitutional right and welfare of pensioners in the country. Pension is a right under our Constitution. The present situation calls for an urgent and collective intervention. The Federal Government must lead the pack in redressing the pensioners. There is no doubt that a lot of misappropriation is going on in the States across the country. The Federal Government is more like an accomplice for failing and/or refusing to to get the State Governors to publicly account for the bailout funds given their States.
The bailout fund was meant to pay off arrears of workers salaries and pensions. It is therefore immoral and criminal to divert it or to short-change the beneficiaries in any manner or form.
Many pensioners have died in pursuit of their pensions. Some have died for not being able to support their lives after retirement due to the callous and illegal denial of their pensions by State Governors. The pensioner hung himself to cut short the frustration, abuse and pains that were being inflicted on him by the State Governor. He is a recent case of one of the causalities of the abuse of pensioners in the country.
The denial of pensioner of their pension and not paying pensioners their pension as at and when is a threat to the anti-corruption fight. It is a discouragement to those in service and the younger ones who aspire for careers in the public service. Many of these public servants being owed pension and are being dribbled by State Governors worked in honesty. Today, they are being ridiculed and mocked by the same State that they served honestly. What a message do we think is being passed to their children and relations and those in service who worked with or under such pensioners? The message is simply: You have to steal to prepare for your retirement and/or, as in our parlance, ‘don’t kill yourself for Government’ which is one should put less energy in official work because the Government does not cater for pensioners and will not cater for you thereafter. The other effect is that it is helping in lowering productivity in the public service.
Theris no doubt that the implications of State Governors owing pensioners their pension are numerous. One of the clearest messages is that our country is uncaring and our leaders are mischievous and insensitive. The aged, as vulnerable people, are supposed to be protected and catered for, and not abused and humiliated.
Have you asked: How many State Governors in the country are retirees? What do we make out of this in respect of our new calmour for youths in political leadership? Is the conduct of the State Governors not opposed to this quest?
Our country needs to undertake a critical evaluation of the attitude of those elected to govern and represent us. We must break the circle of pretence, and come out to say no to all manner of abuses and impunity. Owing the pensioners is an act of impunity
Good morning all.