From Saka Bolaji, Minna
The police in Minna on Wednesday aborted a planned protest by pensioners in the state over unpaid pensions and gratuities.
The state Commissioner of Police Mr Yakadi Paul , personally intervened to stop what the pensioners said would have been ” the mother of all protests in this state”.
The protest was to be a follow up to a petition the pensioners wrote to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello asking for the payment of their pensions and gratuities some of which had been outstanding for over 6 years.
In the petition the pensioners threatened to ground the state if their demands were not met because “all our members, over 5,000 of us, will take to the streets of Minna.”
The police chief, according to a very reliable source, got wind of the plan and early on Wednesday invited the leadership of the pensioners to his office for dialogue.
The state Chairman of the union, Isah Aliyu Zhiliku and the Secretary, Abubakar Aliyu Paiko, led the delegation of the pensioners to the meeting.
The police Commissioner prevailed on the pensioners to “shelve the protest in the interest of the peace and security of the state”.
Yakadi reportedly told the officials that the police intervened in the interest of both parties assuring that ” I will personally take up the matter with the governor “.
It was gathered that the leadership of the pensioners reluctantly agreed to step down the protest and gave the police boss two weeks to reach the governor and give us a favourable reply.
The police commissioner also on Wednesday invited the Director-General of the state Pension Board, U T Ahmed over allegations that the board had diverted funds meant for the payment of the pensioners.
Ahmed denied the claim, saying “nobody has given us money to pay pensioners”.
The leadership of the pensioners later appealed to their members, some of whom dressed in sport kits in readiness for the protest, to return home because ” the police commissioner has intervened.”