Delta State Local Council and Primary School teachers’ retirees, numbering over 1,000, have protested on the streets of Asaba and given the state government till October 8 for the payment of their accumulated benefits, allegedly amounting to N48 billion.
The retirees, who claimed to have lost 35 members with so many others incapacitated due to lack of funds to take care of their needs, demanded to see the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa while rejecting emissaries, including the Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko; Senior Special Assistant (Religion Matters) and current Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle Silvanus Okorote and State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Goodluck Ofobruku.
Spokesperson for the protesters, Chief Helen Ejie-Chionye, who spoke with reporters said they had earlier marched to the State House of Assembly, but were shut out and unable to see any of the principal officers as the lawmakers were on recess, before they later took their protest to the Government House where they met a brick wall by security operatives that stopped the undeterred protesters who danced, drummed and sang solidarity songs to register their dissatisfaction.
The protesters shouted down the Head of Service and booed the NLC chairman after he said he was unaware that retirees in the local council tier of government did have issues with receiving their benefits.
Ejie-Chionye, who also doubles as the Chairperson, Association of Contributory Retirees (ACR), in her response to the Head of Service, said: “Retirees numbering over 5,000 have suffered enough hardship and humiliation since retirement, yet, several meetings with government officials have yielded no results, hence we resort to this peaceful protest.”
The Head of Service, Bayoko, later sued for patience and agreed to the one month grace to sort things out. He said that the state government was concerned about their plight.