Zamfara State pensioners have recounted the hardship they are going through over non-payment of their pensions for the past four months.
Many pensioners who spoke to PUNCH said they were going through a tough time as they were finding it very difficult to even feed their families.
One of the pensioners, Mohammed Aminu said he had sold almost all of his belongings in an effort to feed his family, lamenting that he could not afford even a square meal per day.
Aminu appealed to Governor Dauda Lawal to look into the possibility of settling the four months’ pension arrears so as to save the lives of many pensioners who are completely devastated due to object poverty.
He, however, stressed that former Governor Bello Mattawalle was responsible for the pensioners’ predicament because he was not able to pay them for three months during his tenure.
“We are not blaming the present Governor of the state, Dauda Lawal, for the situation we are in at the moment because he inherited this mess from his predecessor, Bello Mattawalle”, he said.
Another pensioner, Garba Shehu said that his three children were sent out of school since he couldn’t pay for their school fees after several warnings from the proprietor of the school.
“I am ashamed of myself because my children are no longer attending classes despite my position as former director in one of the state ministries”, he said.
A retired permanent secretary who pleaded anonymity told Analyzer News that he has sold the only family car in order to buy ram and food items for Sallah celebration.
“I tried my best to get a loan in order to buy food items and ram for Eid El Kabir celebration, but nobody was ready to give me credit because I am heavily indebted due to the nonpayment of four months’ pension”.
“For this reason, I sold the only car I have at give-away price so that I could buy food items and ram for Layya.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to our caring Governor to please do something to bail us out of this hopeless situation”, he lamented.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Dauda Lawal on Broadcast Media, Press and Public Affairs, Malam Mustafa Jafaru Kaura, said arrangements were in the pipeline to settle the pensioners as was done to civil servants.
Jafaru said the pensioners would very soon smile, adding that: “Their issue is currently being discussed and action will soon be taken”.
He maintained that the delay in payment of pensions was a result of so many irregularities discovered in the list of retired civil servants as some retired civil servants who has been dead for a long time, still has their names on the payment vouchers.
He explained, however, that the non-payment of three months’ pension was inherited from the administration of former Governor Bello Mattawalle.