From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

 

Pensioners, who retired in 2012 and 2013, yesterday, appealed to the Edo State government to effect payment of their gratuities after their letter of authority otherwise called Yellow Form (YF) was collected in 2017.

The pensioners made the appeal during a protest to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council in Benin City.

Angered by the lingering issues of unpaid gratuities, the retirees, who carried placards with inscriptions thus “We wore white cloth campaign for him, state government pay our gratuity, he has forgotten us,” said they have protested for the umpteen time but no positive outcome.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Frederick Okoloise, one of the pensioners, said many pensioners are now dead while some are now sick and living with a meager pension.

“Upon retirement, two letters are given to the retirees; a letter of monthly pension and letter of authority of gratuity (Yellow Form). The one in question is the letter of gratuity. On the 5th to 8th April 2017, the Edo state government invited 2012/2013 pensioners for screening for payment of gratuity..

“After the screening, the then Head of Service collected the letters of authority from us and promised to pay us within two weeks. The state government has refused to pay us till now,” Okoloise said.

Another senior citizen, Margaret Ebekine, however, commended the governor for the prompt payment of pensions but noted that, with the current economic reality, payment of the gratuity will bring succor to them.

According to her, “Our gratuity for about 10 to 11 years have not been paid to us. In 2017, we were asked to come for screening and were given fat meat-pie and malt. We were all happy with the hope that in one to two months, we will get paid but nothing has been done.

“We, the pensioners, ensured that the governor comes for a second time because we believe he will pay us. We are so disappointed and he is not talking about it.”

Amadin Friday, a retiree from the Post Primary Education Board in 2012, said “The governor has been faithful in paying monthly pension but what is important to us is the payment of the gratuity because it is a large sum.

“This is what we can use to do meaningful things at the moment. In our working days, we couldn’t achieve anything because our monthly take home couldn’t take us anywhere.

“After 10 years of retirement, the large sum, the gratuity, which we rely on, is yet to get to our hands. The government screened us in 2017 and collected our Yellow Cards.

“Once government collect your yellow card, it is an indication that the government is ready to pay”, he said.

 

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Source: news