From John Adams, Minna
After months of protests by pensioners in Niger State, the state government has approved N1 billion for the payment of pensions and gratuities to retirees in the state.
The money is to be shared between the state and local government retirees who have continued to protest over the non-payment of their entitlements.
Briefing reporters in Minna on Thursday at the flag-off of the payment at the state pension board headquarters, the Director General of the state pension board, Alhaji Nasiru Saidu Namaska, said the state government retirees will get N500 million while their local government counterpart will get N500 million.
Alhaji Saidu Namaska disclosed that the N500 million will cover for about 178 out of the 14,200 retirees under the state government pension payroll, adding that the total liability under the state pension stood at N14 billion.
According to him, the 178 retirees which also included dead ones, were carefully selected after a thorough scrutiny of their retirement documents, adding that more retirees will be captured in the next batch of payments before the end of the year.
It could be recalled that pensioners in the state have in the last few months, continue to protest non-payment of their pension and gratuity, leading to the barricade of the government house to press home their demands.
Several of the pensioners who have retired for over 12 years said they have not been paid their gratuities while some of them got only 30 per cent of their gratuities, months after retirement.