From Chris Gaga, Makurdi
The Senator Representing Benue North-East senatorial district, Gabriel Suswam has appealed to protesting Pensioners to end the six days all-night protest and return to their various homes.
The former governor also appealed to the pensioners to trust and give him up till Monday next week to join heads with governor Samuel Ortom to address their demands.
But in a quick trigger, some of the protesters shouted, “we don’t trust the governor.”
Suswam who addressed the pensioners at the gate of government house on Monday, said their continued sleeping outside was unpalatable, insisting that they would not allow “our parents to be sleeping outside”.
He pleaded to the pensioners to break the protest so as to reconvene Monday when he believed he will join heads with the governor to address their needs.
Suswam said, ” even If you don’t trust the governor as you said, give us the opportunity. Your staying here affects us your children and the whole state. It is a state matter and we stakeholders can not fold our hands and watch.
“My appeal to you is please go back home, Monday we will be back here with other stakeholders to resolve this issue. Please give us a chance, just one opportunity and if we cannot solve this problem then, you can go ahead with your protest. But we cannot allow you to continue staying here,” he pleaded.
The Senator Committee Chairman on Power explained that governor Ortom was constrained by the present economic realities, but appealed to the pensioners to count on him to making sure that the governor heed to their cry.
Suswam who said the pensioners were bargaining for their rights, assured that he will take the challenge “personally” to solve the problem when he meets with the pensioners on Monday next week.
In their response, the Vice Chairman of the Concerned Senior Citizens, Mrs Stella Peters said they were ready to continue protesting day and night till Monday next week when the Senator feels solutions will be provided.
Stella narrated that if the government had paid them two months of the arrears they bargained for before they commenced protest, it wouldn’t have gotten to this point.
She cried that, “life has not been easy with us. We have lost dignity in our families and homes. This is not how to treat human beings”.
The Vice Chairman informed that they have lost three of their members in the cause of the protest, noting that they were surprised their cry and suffering is been speculated to be instigated by politicians.
They however appreciated former governor Suswam for his concerns, but refused ending the protest as the Senator pleaded.
Our Correspondent reports that the protesting pensioners accepted a token gift by the Senator to aide them purchase drinking water. It is the second offer they are accepting since they rejected governor Ortom’s earlier offer of 2million for same purposes.