Umuahia - No fewer than 500 pensioners in Abia on Wednesday stormed Government House in Umuahia to protest non-payment of their arrears of pension and gratuities.
Wednesday’s protest marks the third by the pensioners in one month.
They complained that they were owed four months pension arrears and gratuities which, according to them, had lingered for more than 16 years.
Earlier, the protesters, who looked frail and malnourished, marched round the major roads in Umuahia metropolis before heading for government house.
The protesters, who sang solidarity songs, took off from their secretariat on Bende Road and marched through Aba Road / Umuwaya Road displaying placards with various inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: "Why pay us evil for the services we rendered to you?," "Many of our members have died of hunger," "There is God o," "We will not leave here until you settle us" among others.
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They blocked the main gate to Government House and prevented vehicles from entering the area.
They sat on the ground and resisted efforts by security men to disperse them and insisted that Gov. Theodore Orji should address them.
The pensioners were later addressed by the Permanent Secretary in the Government House, Chief Nkwachukwu Agomuo, who said that government was aware of their plight.
Agomuo appealed to them to be patient with the government, saying efforts were being made to pay the arrears of their pension and gratuities.
He blamed the delay in the payment of their terminal benefits on lean resources and reduction in Federal allocation to the state caused by the drop in crude oil prices.