Graveyard Silence, Uncertainty Over Payment of Pension in Kogi

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A week after the payment of March salary to civil servants in Kogi State, the pensioners are yet to receive their monthly stipend.

All over the state, there is a feeling of despondency and resignation to fate, as pensioners wait in vain for payment of their March pension.

In February, on the excuse of low allocation from the federation account, the senior citizens, along with the state workers were paid 70 percent of their emoluments.

In the same month, pensioners were also deprived of the payment of the monthly token of their gratuity, to selected beneficiaries.

There is palpable fear among the pensioners that the era of nonpayment of pension for several months, as witnessed in 2017 could be returning to the state civil service.

While no government official is ready to speak on the current stalemate, rumours are rife that the state governor may have used the pension to fund his presidential ambition.

The school of thought also posited that the payment of workers’ salary on the night of 30th March, was a mere window dressing for political correctness.

At the time of compiling this report, nobody could say categorically when the pension will be paid, as no staff of pension office is ready to volunteer any information, in that regard.

There are reports that because of shortage of funds, the Accountant General’s office is yet to credit the account of the State Pension Board, in order to honour its obligations to pensioners.

It is also rumoured that the state government on Tuesday, started a negotiation for an overdraft at a commercial bank in Lokoja, the state capital.

All efforts by our correspondent to obtain a comment from the Director General Pension Board, Mrs. Mariam Ahmed proved abortive, as she did not pick her phone calls or acknowledge text messages.

However, the state Commissioner for Finance, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, after a laborious persistence by our reporter picked his phone call.

In a 10-minute chat on Tuesday, he debunked the rumour that the state was yet to credit the account of pension board.

According to him, the state government had paid all civil servants, including the pensioners, adding that the pension office could be having problem transferring the money from Access Bank to UBA for payment.

He directed our reporter to the pension office for the true picture of the stalemate.

Meanwhile, pensioners are apprehensive, for the fact that the current scenario could be sign of a gloomy future, in terms of payment of pension.

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