<<< By Terver Akase >>>
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has directed the office of the State Head of Service to commence the documenting retirees of local governments in the State from 2009 to 2014.
Governor Ortom gave the directive today while addressing a coalition of local government retirees not yet on pension staged a peaceful protest to the Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
He explained that the documentation would enable his administration to enlist the retirees for subsequent payment of their pension benefits as soon as the necessary procedures were completed.
Governor Ortom who reiterated that he was running a transparent and all inclusive government, assured members of the coalition that he would appeal to the bailout committee to consider payment of the N143 million salary arrears owed them.
He urged the people of the State to disregard rumours that his administration had diverted the bail out funds, noting that, staff of the local governments yet to receive the arrears of their wages would be paid as soon as the ongoing verification was over.
Governor Ortom further ascribed the rumour to members of the opposition PDP who do not mean well for his government and challenged those with information that either he or any of his appointees were culpable of corruption to bring forth such evidence.
The State Head of Service Mr. Adaikwu Inwata who was asked by the Governor to give account of the retirees, confirmed that it was true that they were yet to be documented. He assured that having been granted approval by the Governor, his office would commence the process without further delay.
Earlier, Chairman of the Coalition of Local Government Retirees, Mr. Michael Vembe said their protest to the Benue People’s House was to appeal to the Governor to place their members on monthly pension which requires the release of N83 million for 1,315 Batch ‘A’ retirees while N60 million goes for 713 Batch ‘B’.
The retirees thanked Governor Ortom for the prompt approval for the commencement of their documentation.