Some pensioners in Edo State may smile soon as the state government kicks off the process of its phased payment of pension arrears to senior citizens of the state who had been marking time on the queue for some years now.
Sunday this week, the Godwin Obaseki-led government announced the commencement of physical and documentary verification of pensioners in batches 51, 52 and 53 as part of efforts to clear pension arrears in the state. In a statement by the permanent secretary and state chairman, Pension Bureau, Saylor Juwobor, all pensioners in the afore-mentioned batches were invited to present themselves for screening at the Imaguero Secondary School Hall, Benin City, on July 24 and 25, 2019.
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Juwobor also advised pensioners in previous batches who failed to participate in the previous verification exercises to take advantage of the forthcoming screening exercise alongside pensioners in batches 51, 52 and 53.
While urging affected pensioners to check their names on the published list at the Edo State Pensions Bureau, Oba Ovoramwen Square, Benin City on Wednesday and Thursday this week, the scheduled days for the verification exercise, the chairman directed them to come along with required documents namely, pension authority, retirement letter, letter of first appointment, and pension identity card. They are also to report with their biometric slip, and bank details, including bank name, and account number.
Pensioners in Diaspora in the affected batches, especially those in Europe and America, are also taken into consideration in the verification exercise as, according to Juwobor, they could be screened via Skype. The new strategy in clearing pension arrears adopted by Obaseki had ended years of unrest, agitations and street protests by senior citizens in the state.
Recall that the immediate past administration of Adams Oshiomhole had shut down the state pension board making it impossible for retirees to process their severance gratuities and monthly pensions leading to frequent protests against the government, a situation that was inherited by the present administration.
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