While speaking during the peaceful demonstration at the Government House Makurdi, the Benue state capital, on Wednesday, the Chairman of Coalition of Local Government Pensioners, Mike Vembe, opened up on how a man hanged himself a week ago due to frustration.
He disclosed that the retired worker with the Benue State Local Government Service, Gabriel Nomsha, committed suicide because he couldn’t afford to feed his family and pay his children’s school fees.
“One of our members, Gabriel Nomsha, from Gwer West Local Government Area, committed suicide last week as a result of poverty and frustration,” he said.
He explained further that after the deceased had been screened, he came with the hope of collecting his pension but was disappointed when he wasn’t paid.
At least 2,000 local pensioners from 23 local government areas of the state on Tuesday, slept at the gate of the Government House in Makurdi to protest the non-payment of their pension to the tune of N1.1 billion.
The pensioners arrived the government House in the afternoon but could not see the governor so they decided to pass the night at the gate of government house.
Efforts by security operatives mounting the gate to disperse them were rebuffed. The next morning Governor Samuel Ortom who was travelling to Abuja, came to address them.
Vambe who led the pensioners, said the protest became necessary after the Ministry of Finance stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board.
“We slept at the gate of the Government House since yesterday to press home our demands for the payment of our pension. The finance ministry stopped giving money to Local Government Pensions Board and this is causing our hardship.”
Governor Ortom, who sympathised with them, said their welfare was of utmost importance to his government and promised to do everything possible to clear their pension arrears.