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Hopes Rise As Obaseki Orders Screening Of Pensioners In Edo For Payment

Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki with the strong determination to put smiles on the faces of the pensioners, has directed the State Pension Bureau to begin the screening of pensioners who retired from service between 2014 and 2015.

Speaking to journalists at the State Pension Bureau Office in Benin City, the representative of the Permanent Secretary/Chairman of Edo State Pension Bureau and Director of Computation/Secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Ambrose Akhato, said the exercise is aimed at clearing the backlog owed by previous administrations.

The Chairman of the Bureau said, “The screening exercise has brought smiles to the faces of pensioners. The pensioners should use this golden opportunity to make themselves available for the screening exercise.

“Two years ago, in June 2022, we explained to Mr. Governor the need to screen those pensioners who retired from the service from 1996 to 2013 and were yet to be paid their gratuity and His Excellency magnanimously approved the conduct of the screening exercise. They were screened and we have been paying them all this while.

“We are coming to the close of the payment of those in that group. That is the reason for this screening so that sequential arrangement of payment of gratuity in Edo State will continue.”

He added, “We wrote to His Excellency on the need also to approve the screening of the 2014 and 2015 pensioners for those who retired in those two years and he also approved that they be screened. We started paying them when we were through with the payment of the previous ones.

“This screening started on Monday 1st, July 2024. It is going to end on the 12th of July 2024. We are going to have screening via Skype as well, from the 8th of July 2024 and end on the 19th of July 2024 for those who are living outside the country. For those who are living outside Edo State and for those who are living outside Benin City that may not be able to come for the Physical screening or even those who are within the City who can’t come to the venue because of health challenges, they will also be screened through Skype.”

The chairman further noted, “For those who are late, we can’t pay them directly anymore. Their issues will be termed as death benefits. When we are through with the money available to pay them, we will send it to the State Ministry of Justice, that is where their next-of-kin will be screened and paid.”

He also noted that the State Pension Bureau is expected to screen 900 pensioners within two weeks, adding that out of the number, over 286 pensioners have been screened so far.

One of the pensioners who retired in 2014, Mr. Ehijianagwi James expressed joy after the screening exercise, commending Governor Godwin Obaseki for fulfilling the promise.

Applauding the ongoing screening exercise, the Treasurer, Association of Retired Civil Servants Welfare, which is an arm of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mrs. Irene Osa Aiguobaruehien, said, “It has been very nice. They are doing their work accordingly. Everything is going on well, the process is well organized.

“You come in, get screened, and go. There is no stress like before. During the past administration, you see pensioners collapsing, but that is not the case this time around.”

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