By Brenda Agba
The Benue State Government is putting in place modalities to enable it clear pension arrears in no distant time.
The Chief Of Staff to the Executive Governor of Benue State, Rt. Hon. Paul Biam disclosed this Wednesday, when he received the leadership and members of the Concerned Pensioners Association, Benue State on behalf of Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia during their solidarity rally in support of the Governor at the Benue State Government House, Makurdi.
Rt. Hon. Biam who noted the great show of appreciation demonstrated by members of the association especially their decision to withdraw all court cases to create room for peace, appealed to them to forget all they went through in the past and focus on the future.
Describing pensioners as a very critical sector of the society which is capable of providing great value addition to the economy if given the opportunity, the Chief Of Staff assured that the Benue State Government will look into all the issues raised by the association with a view to proferring favourable solutions.
“Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia is a responsible Governor who is running a responsible administration and he will ensure that pensioners in the state always get paid as and when due”, Biam stated.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Chairman of the association, Hon. Akosu Orban Alexis, who recalled their contribution towards Rev. Fr. Alia’s enthronement as the Governor of Benue State, acknowledged his prompt implementation of the solutions to their problems and grievances amidst the meagre resources available at his disposal.
Hon. Akosu enumerated the solutions implemented to include: Regularization of the payment of their monthly pension; Placement of all pensioners on the pay roll immediately after retirement as well as Immediate clearance of gratuity of those that retired during the Alia led administration among others.
The association’s Chairman also noted other areas the Governor has done well to include: Refurbishment of the State Assembly Complex; Purchase of one hundred buses for Benue Links Transport Company; Appointment of two of their members, Emmanuel Gwaza Ujamatyu as Senior Special Assistant on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as well as Mr. Mkena as Board Member, Local Government Service Commission among others.
“We encourage you to appoint more pensioners in high positions of authority in that, they are veterans in their various fields of human endeavour and would bring their worth of experience to bear on the job that would be assigned to them”, Akosu maintained.
Akosu however said in spite of the numerous achievements, more still needs to be done especially in the implementation of the Report on Harmonization of Pension Rates as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that has been concluded which is one of their stinking grievances.
He also called on the Government to stop the deduction of check off dues from Concerned Pensioners Association to Nigeria Union of Pensioners even as he assured that the Governor’s appeal to the association to withdraw all their cases pending in the court has been heeded to pave way for government mediation and subsequent settlement.