Pensioners in Edo state today barricaded the popular Oba Ovonramwen Square in Benin for several hours over the non-payment of gratuities and pension arrears.
The pensioners forced diversion of traffic which resulted in unusual traffic gridlock in adjoining roads.
The pensioners, former employees of the state and local government, chanted solidarity songs and carried placards with inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read “Edo Government has turned pensioners to beggars and destitute” and “From Paris Club refund, bail out Edo pensioners”.
Their spokesman, Mr Gabriel Osemwekha, said they were protesting the failure of Gov Godwin Obaseki to honour his promise on May Day.
Osemwekha said they were drawing Obaseki’s attention to the plight of pensioners in the state.
He lamented that all pensioners in the state were suffering, while some of them had died of hunger and inability to pay medical bills.
According to him, Gov Obaseki made a pronouncement during the May Day celebration that pensioners would receive payment from the month of June, but failed to honour it.
“The government owes both the state and local government pensioners. It owes state pensioners between five to 42 months and the local government between 13 to 32 months.
“For the state pensioners, they are owed gratuities from 2012 till date and the local government pensioners from 2008 till date,” he said.