THE plight of pensioners in Rivers State has become one of the major stains of Governor Nyesom Wike’s regime.
Not long ago, President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, in a petition to the Rivers State governor, among others, said “We are also amiss at the continued failure of Rivers State to pay the terminal benefits of retirees for the past seven years despite the viability of Rivers State which is at par with Lagos State as Nigeria’s most financially solvent states.”
Lamenting the pains of retirees in the state, the Coordinator of the Pensioners in Rivers State, Lucky Ati, said many pensioners have died without receiving their benefits.
According to him, “Nobody has been paid gratuity in this state for the past seven years. You can imagine what we are going through. At our age, there are so many terminal illnesses that we encounter that need constant medication. How do you go about these medications when you don’t have money?
“So many of us have died. I have lost count of the numbers. By the time I was following up, based on the information I was getting from members, before December 2021, we have lost over 150 pensioners.”
During the May Day celebration , the State NLC alleged systematic Pension fraud in the State Pension board.
Workers in the state came to the May Day celebration in black attire, saying they were mourning the suffering and pains of both active and retired public workers of the state.
Decrying the situation, Chairperson of Rivers’ NLC, Beatrice Itubo, among others, said “Retirees have continued to die in their numbers without the Government showing any concern or empathy. It is shameful to say the least that a Government which prides itself as responsible government would allow people who devoted the better parts of their lives to work for the state to resort to fasting and prayers in public before realizing that these people need their little benefits to stay alive a little longer. “Retirees in the state, however, have heaved a sigh of relief from the alleged poor treatment by the state government, with the promise of payment of their allowances.