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Ortom begs Benue pensioners for forgiveness over unpaid entitlements

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has begged protesting pensioners in the state for forgiveness over months of unpaid pension, promising that funds would be released for them to be paid.

The governor made the appeal on Friday when he met with the protesters at the gate of Government House, Makurdi, where they had been protesting for two days, expressing regret that this was happening during his administration.

The pensioners had since Wednesday continued to protest the non-payment of their gratuities and allowances spanning 25 months, insisting that the protest would continue despite several appeals by government officials to stop the protest and return to their homes.

Ortom, while addressing the pensioners, explained that he was a child of circumstance as he inherited N17billion on assumption of office.

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He said: “When I came in 2015, I inherited over N17 billion in gratuity and pension of N34b all at the state level.

“But we have been able to reduce this amount by paying N18.6bn and I have N11bn outstanding.

“We are not relenting and that is the reason why we have continued to work towards solving the problems.

“In last year’s budget, we proposed to raise N40b through bond and we had also set up a committee on the introduction of PENCOM.

“I am ashamed to stand before you, for I know the pains some of you are passing through, many of you need to buy drugs every month.

“There is no justification for not paying you, that is why I am appealing to you to forgive me, this will not repeat itself.”

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