Uhuru Samuel Adaji Jalingo
Following the fresh N5.5bn loan approved for governor Darius Ishaku by Taraba state House of Assembly on October 19, pensioners in the state on Monday embarked on mass protest to demand for the payment of their over N40 billion gratuity and the refusal of government to enrol over 1000 retirees into the pension scheme.
The protesting pensioners who Marched through the streets of Jalingo with pla cards with different inscriptions to the state House of Assembly accused Governor Ishaku of subjecting prisoners to hardship and insensitive to their plight after collecting over N200 billions loans from different institutions, including federal government bailout and the Paris club refund.
While demanding for their entitlements, Comr. Silas Jafta the state pensioners chairman on behalf of the retirees also demanded for accountability into all the debt collected by the governor since 2015 to save the future of the state.
“We are out again to protest for our rights, we want governor Ishaku to be sensitive and pay us our retirement benefits.
“The governor has collected a lot of loans including bailout and Paris club refund. He has no project to point at as what he has used the monies for. He keep borrowing and Taraba state is gradually becoming the most indebted state in Nigeria but our entitlement are still not considered after retiring for over ten years.
“While we demand that the N5.5bn loan that was approved last week Wednesday for rureral roads completion should be used to begin the payment of our entitlements, we also demand immediate investigation into all the monies collected by the governor since the governor has no reasonable project on ground to point at”. They demanded.
Meanwhile, the speaker Taraba state house of Assembly, Prof. Joseph Albasu Kunini refused to attend to the protesting pensioners after waiting for over four hours at the assembly’s gate.
Reacting to the N5.5bn loan approved by the state assembly, both senator Danlami Ikenya the governorship candidates of the Labour Party LP and senator Emmanuel Bwacha of the All Progressives Congress APC in the state have condemned the granting of the loan by the state House of assembly .
They challenged that the governor lack the capacity to pay back N5.5bn in the next seven months of his administration and should not add more debt to the ones he has already incurred for the state.
“No serious commercial bank would give such loans to an administration that is about leaving office in the next few months without the capacity to pay back.
“The money been borrowed is not for any meaningful project but to be embezzled. What kind of project the government is going to execute in the remaining seven months?, for some of us, we believe any commercial bank that gives such funds is doing it at it’s own risk”. They kicked.