Posted by News Express | 1 March 2016 | 2,959 times
Members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Bayelsa Chapter, on Monday blocked the entrance into the Government House in Yenagoa over unpaid five months arrears, saying they remain resolute in demanding for their entitlements.
Some of the pensioners were manhandled by thugs believed to be supporters of the Governor Seriake Dickson, who had declared that the state can no longer meet its salary obligations to civil servants.
The pensioners during the peaceful protest maintained that the welfare of their members is not negotiable. They were seen displaying placards with inscriptions such as “Dickson, pay us our gratuities” and “Be good to pensioners”, among others.
The aged pensioners were however manhandled by some youths in the area that dragged and beat them up.
Bayelsa NUP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mr Bodi Amarah, said the protest was to call government’s attention to the non-payment of members’ five months pension arrears.
His words: “We have not been paid our pension for five months now and some of us have not received their gratuity at all, the Bayelsa Government should pay us our money.
“Our members came out this morning to protest, just to call government’s attention to our welfare, but some group of youth came from nowhere and started beating our members up.
“All our placards have been destroyed by the group, one of our members, who was beaten, is currently receiving treatment in the hospital.
“We, the pensioners, did not come out for war, we only came here to ask for what belongs to us, now, see what we are receiving as our pay.
“The Pension is our right and it not going to be negotiable, we will not leave here (government house entrance) until Governor, Seriake Dickson, comes out to address us. Yes, we have tried several times to sit with the governor, but all efforts have proved abortive.”
Another of the protesters, Mr Philip Didi, condemned the beating up of the pensioners by the youths, describing it as cruel and inhuman.
“We need our money because we have served the state meticulously for 35 years; our members are dying and our children’s school fees have not been paid,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa Governor, admitted that the pensioners’ were being owed by the State Government.
He however denied allegations of the beating up of the pensioners by the youths.
•Photo shows the pensioners shortly after the disruption of their protest . . . yesterday at the Government in Yenagoa.
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