By Onyeje Abutu
Makurdi – The Benue government has 8,910 pensioners in its pay roll, according to Mr Francis Tile, Permanent Secretary, Benue State Bureau of Salaries and Pensions.
Tile, who appeared before the House of Assembly on Tuesday, to explain why pensioners had not been paid even after Gov Samuel Ortom released N300 million for that purpose, said that the released funds were used to settle 409 pensioners.
“We have started the payment; the money we received was used to pay 409 pensioners,” the official told the legislators during plenary.
Mr Lanna Jato (Katsina-Ala East/PDP), Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, had earlier told his colleagues that the bureau had denied the committee access to relevant documents on pension matters.
Jato also complained that it was taking the bureau “a long time” to pay pensioners the monies released by the governor, adding that there was no bank statement to support the amount claimed to have been paid.
He, therefore, asked the permanent secretary to tell the house the total number of pensioners in the state, how many of them had been paid, and how much had been released.
Contributing, Mr Baba Otache (APA/PDP), reprimanded the bureau for toiling with the payment of pensions “at this critical time of general elections”.
Otache said that the pensioners represented a high percentage of the voting population and should be treated fairly.
Ruling, the Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, asked the bureau to ensure that documents related to pensions and gratuities payments be made available to the committee as soon as possible. (NAN)