Pensioners Beaten Up At State Government House Bayelsa
BEVERLY HILLS, February 29, (THEWILL) – Members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Bayelsa Chapter, have been beaten up by thugs believed to be supporters of the recently re-elected Governor, Seriake Dickson, who had declared that the state can no longer meet its salary obligations to civil servants.
The Pensioners, who staged a peaceful protest to the government house, Yenagoa, on Monday said that the welfare of members of the association was not negotiable and were seen displaying placards with inscriptions such as “Dickson, pay us our gratuities” and “be good to pensioners” among others.
According to Mr Bodi Amarah, The Union's Caretaker Committee Chairman, the protest was to call government's attention to the non-payment of members' five months pension arrears adding that no amount of intimidation would deter them from demanding for their entitlements.
“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,” he said.
“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 time to sit with the governor, but all efforts have proved abortive.”
Mr Philip Didi, another member, condemned the beating up of the pensioners by the youth, describing the incident 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 but denied allegations of the beating up of the pensioners by the youths.
Story by David Oputah