By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha
ASABA—RETIREES in Delta State, yesterday, marched through major streets of Asaba, the state capital, protesting the alleged non-payment of their entitlements by the state government.
Gathered under the aegis of Association of Contributory Retirees, ACR, the protesters accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of not properly managing all the tranches of the Paris Club Refund and bailout released to the state by the Federal Government.
Displaying placards with various inscriptions such as “Okowa, what did you use the FG bailout and Paris Club Refund for?” “Okowa what is the crime of retirees, after serving Delta State for 35 years,” among others, the retirees said that they could no longer take care of their families, pay house rents, children’s school fees while several of their colleagues have died of hunger or sickness.
The leader of the group, Ajueitis Ovwiroro, who also led the protesters to the gates of Government House and State House of Assembly complex, said: “Even with the third tranche of the bailout fund released by the Federal Government, retirees are still being shortchanged.
“Out of the N10 billion given to Delta State in the third tranche, only a paltry of N300 million was released to retirees out of over N20 billion owed us. Ten years after the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, came into effect in Delta State, the government is still grappling with some issues in a scheme that is supposed to be auto-run.
“The Contributory Pension Scheme is a monumental failure in Delta State as the governor has persistently flouted the rules of the scheme. He has refused to pay the mandatory five percent of the monthly wage bill of its employees into Retirement Benefit Bond Redemption Fund, RBBRF, account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as stipulated by law thereby, causing us untold hardship.”