Edo government sets aside N15 billion for 2023 pension and bonus payments  … maintains that the pensioners’ protest was politically motivated

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Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Communication and Orientation, Solomon Imohiosen, and Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare, during a press conference in Benin City, on Sunday, January 8, 2023

According to Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikare, “The recent protest by pensioners against the payment of gratuities to retirees was politically driven.”

In a press conference with journalists in Benin City, the commissioner made this disclosure and said that the state government had paid N1 billion in gratuities to pensions the previous year and had set aside N15 billion to pay for gratuities and pensions in 2023.

He said, “Our investigation showed that the protest was instigated and politically motivated for a purpose, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential rally was held a day after the protest by pensioners in Benin City. They were motivated by the people who made sure their gratuity wasn’t given to them.

“The Edo State Government, led by Governor Godwin Obaseki, has paid pensions and all pension arrears to those who were due them and to those who inherited pensions; as of today, no pensioner has been owed pension. Additionally, people who retired prior to 2016, when the current administration took office, are receiving their gratuities.

The pensioners with whom we are experiencing issues are individuals who left their positions during the governor Adams Oshiomhole-led administration, whose careless leadership gave rise to the pension issue that the Obaseki administration is working tirelessly to fix. We’ve been talking with the pensioners about how to pay their gratuity. Last year t he Edo State Government paid N1 billion Naira as gratuity.”

“We want people to understand that when these protesters claimed that no gratuity had been paid since 2011, they weren’t speaking the truth. We have begun making the back payments and have allocated an additional N1 billion to cover the unpaid gratuity arrears. The Edo State Government allots N100 million per month for the payment of gratuities. We planned N15.1 billion for pension and gratuity payments in 2023, he said.

He asserted that the claim that the Edo State Government owes pensioners gratuities is untrue since the state has already paid N1 billion to pensioners, and another N1 billion will be given to them in 2023.

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