Pensioners in Benue State on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest over non-payment of pension and gratuity totalling N25 billion.

The aggrieved pensioners, under the aegis of Concerned Pensioners, occupied the Government House for 12 hours and prevented vehicles from going in and out of the place.

They said their action followed the state government’s  inability to settle their monthly pension allowances and gratuities.

The aggrieved pensioners marched on the major streets of Makurdi, the state capital, waving green leaves and singing solidarity songs.

They urged the state government to pay their entitlement to avoid further deaths among their colleagues due to hunger.

After the protest march the pensioners who carried sleeping mats stormed the gate of Government House Makurdi and barricaded the main entrance.

The chairman of the concerned pensioners, Comrade Peter Kyado, led the protesters.

He told reporters that they lost about 40 members each month due to financial challenges.

“We are going to sleep here. After all, we came here with sleeping materials, such as mats, camp beds. This protest is indefinite and if the government fails to address our issue, we will remain here, multiply and fill the earth until our demands are meant.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase said Governor Samuel Ortom had directed that funds be released to the pensioners.

He said the government had taken steps to end pensioners’ suffering and called for patience.