Osun pensioners protest non-payment of gratuity, pension arrears

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Some pensioners in Osun, on Tuesday, staged a protest at the state government secretariat to demand government’s intervention in the non-payment of their gratuity and pension arrears.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that incident led to lockdown of the secretariat main gate, thus preventing civil servants from gaining entrance to their offices.

NAN also reports that the pensioners, mostly those who retired from state-owned primary and secondary schools, lamented the huge arrears owed them by the previous administration.

They displayed placards with various inscriptions, such as: “Stop lying and fake promises”, “Pay us our money”; “Help us, we are suffering” and “Dead people cannot enjoy infrastructure”, among others.

One of the pensioners, Mr Micheal Adebayo, said that government had refused to pay their 29 months pension arrears and gratuities.

Adebayo explained that government officials had also gone on media stations to announce that they had released millions of naira for payment of pensions and arrears, saying that this was false and astonishing.

He noted that pensioners would continue to protest until their demands were met and all their arrears and gratuities paid.

Another pensioner, Mrs Salami Bamidele, said that government had refused to prioritise the pressing needs of the retirees, adding that it had also failed to provide the necessary fund required to meet the payment of the pensioners.

Bamidele lamented the manner in which the state government was handling payment of pensions to retirees.

While reacting to the pensioners’ demands, the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, appealed for calm, adding that the governor was working assiduously to ensure they all got paid.

Alabi attributed the development to paucity of funds in paying the pensioners, even though salaries of workers were being paid monthly without any delay.

“To sort out the issue of pensioners, your leadership picked Nov. 29 to meet with the government.

“I am sure that the outcome of the meeting will serve your interest, as we will add to the money we used to release on monthly basis.

“Gov. Oyetola will always fulfill his promise. Let us, therefore, be patient till the end of the meeting,” he said. (NAN)

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