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Weak, Feeble 3,000 Delta Retirees Occupy Asaba Road To Protest Unpaid Gratuities

Rita Enemuru, Reporting

Over 3,000 weak and feeble retirees from public primary schools in Delta State, on Thursday, staged a peaceful protest, demanding the payment of their gratuities.

The protest coincided with when Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was, along with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, were in Osun State dancing and singing at a mega rally of the party in support of the party’s governorship candidate ahead Saturday election.

The protesters, clad in black, mournful attire, comprised frail-looking teachers who retired after 35 years of meritorious service to the state and have been denied their gratuities seven years on the line.

Leader of the protesters, Chief Mrs Ejieh, said in spite of repeated promises made during meetings with a delegation of the state government, Gov Okowa has refused to honour his words.

She lamented that the governor has refused to demonstrate a humane heart of leadership on the matter in spite of available resources and his regular refrain of being a born-again Christian.

She pleaded with the state government to urgently declare a state of emergency in the public primary schools retirees gratuities payment matter or be ready to bury more of their dying members.

The retiree also urged the governor to ensure that the over 5.9 billion naira owed by some local councils in the state are duly remitted to the Bureau of Local Government that is in charge of the payment.

Stonix News reports that the protest lasted for hours leading to gridlock of vehicular movement along Anwai Road, Asaba where the Govt House is situated.

They were armed with placards with varying inscriptions and chanted solidarity songs with lyrics like “Okowa pay our money, Okowa, shame, shame, shame o, Okowa. Okowa 419, Okowa, shame, shame shame o, Okowa.”

Amid the chants of protestation, the retirees blocked the road by sitting to hinder vehicular movement, demanding to see the governor face to face.

Security operatives, including the police and a detachment of soldiers, failed in their attempts to disperse the protesters as the senior citizens remained adamant on the road.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr Festus Ovie Agas, who later attended to the protesters, pleaded with the retirees for more time, assuring that the payment would be effected.

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