By Anita Ogona
Over 2000 pensioners who retired from civil services in Rivers state have taken to the streets of Port Harcourt to protest non payments of pension arrears and gratuities since 2015 to date.
Some of the pensioners who spoke with our correspondent said they have suffered untold hardship since they retired and are not able to afford basic necessities.
A pensioner, Lucy Abiye said she retired as a director in Ministry of Education and since she retired in 2017, she is unable to meet her needs and take care of her children in secondary and university.
For Chris Baridam, he said he retired in 2015, he has been thrown out from his house in Port Harcourt as a tenant and moved back to his village and is forced to look for shelter in a neighbouring community due to the insecurities.
Addressing the pensioners at post office junction in Port Harcourt, Commissioner of police in Rivers State, Friday Eboka appealed to the angry pensioners to sheath their sword and give him two weeks to take their matter to the Governor.
In his remarks leader of the protesting pensioners, Mr Lucky Ati said the government is owing them pension gratuities and arrears to the tune of 7 Billion.
He explained that they came out to protest in full force but because they are all old people they have accepted to honour the commissioner of police’s request to suspend the protest till after two weeks.
He said pensioners in the state are going through untold hardship and that many of their colleagues have died due to old age related diseases.
“Pension gratuities is a right and not a privilege demand. So, after two weeks we will resume our protest until our demands are met”, said Ati.