Retirees of the Rivers State Civil Service has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for signing the 2019 Pension Reform Bill into law and described the action as a welcome development.
The retirees who made the commendation while on solidarity march to the Government House in Port Harcourt on Thursday, expressed joy that signing the bill into law has finally removed all impediments to the payment of their retirement benefits.
The pensioners, who carried placards with various inscriptions praising Governor Wike for his show of compassion towards the elder citizens, lauded the governor for matching words with action, following his promise to reverse the obnoxious Pensions Law of the previous government in the State, which he acknowledged, had constituted a cog in payment of gratuities and pensions.
Led by their Coordinator, Elder Lucky Ati, the retirees, comprising civil servants who left the service between July 2015 and June 2019, said: “At every occasion where the issue of the retirees arose, you spoke with empathy. By the signing of the new Pension Bill into law, you have translated that deep concern into action and for that, we are very grateful.
“For your show of concern for these category of senior citizens and other people oriented projects and programmes, we declare without equivocation and fear of contradiction that you are not only 'Mr. Project', you are indeed and truly the 'People's Governor'”, they declared.
The pensioners appealed to the governor to direct the relevant offices responsible for the biometrics exercise to continue with the exercise which was suspended before the last General Elections.
They further urged Governor Wike to direct the offices responsible for the payment of their retirement benefits, to act expedite the payment of their gratuities, pension arrear and monthly pension.
In submission at the event, a retired Director with the Rivers State government, Pastor Mopho Ilodeami Macsoto said the signing of the Pension Reform Bill into law is a dream come true and prayer answered by God.
His words, “What all the retirees are earnestly waiting for is the Governor matching the signing of the bill with action by releasing money to pay the gratuity, pensions, salaries, retirement savings and all deductions due the senior citizens of this State. This will go a long way to create a general positive multiplier effect to the church, families, businesses and society in general”.