Ogun pensioners, govt disagree over late payment, unpaid gratuities
Segun Ayinde, Abeokuta
Local government pensioners in Ogun state, on Wednesday, shut the gate leading to main entrance of the state secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, in protest against their unpaid gratuities since 2011 and late payment of their pensions.
The pensioners, under the aegis of Local Government Pensioners Association of Nigeria (LOGPAN) accused Governor Dapo Abiodun of wanting them to have their gratuities in the grave for rescheduling payment of outstanding gratuities for 34 years with ₦50 million quarterly.
They equally blamed the current administration of fraudulently paying their gratuities and pensions through the ministry of finance rather than the Bureau of Local Government, describing such action as illegal.
The pensioners armed themselves with placards with various inscriptions such as “we demand 30,000 minimum pensions to pensioners as against the 5,000 minimum pension now being paid.”
Other placards bore “Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, honour your father and treat pensioners well”; We reject the payment of the 68 billion, the ten years outstanding gratuities at N50 million quarterly for 34 years.”
Speaking on behalf of the pensioners, the state chairman of LOPAN, Chief Sikiru Ayilara, accused the state government of syphoning their gratuities, appealing to the state government to heed to their demands due to their old age as they had written various letters to the governor with no response.
Ayilara said that most of the pensioners were suffering and could not afford three square meals while some of them were widows and widowers who are nursing one or more sicknesses at their old age. They asked Abiodun to save them from the hardship.
LOGPAN’s chairman however called on the state governor to consider the pensioners’ plight and heed their demands to stop untimely death among the retirees who had served the state between 10 to 35 years.
He said ‘It is very ridiculous that the gratuities emerge without our own knowledge we are told that they signed an agreement that our gratuities will be paid for 34 years. A person work for 35 years you owed him for 11 years and you are now rescheduling the payment for 34 years it is an indirect way of saying go and take your gratuities in the grave
“This government had borrowed money three times; they had taken bond and they are saying that there is no money. It will surprise you that all IGR in the LG in the state had been cornered collected and swallowed by the state government it is a shame.” he added
Speaking, the secretary to the state government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi, called for a dialogue with the pensioners, saying that the government was doing everything possible to pay their outstanding gratuities and pay their pensions on time.
“They are protesting against the non-payment of their gratuities and pensions. Most of the issues are backlogs of 2011 LG and 2014, in the case of civil service. The pensioners are agitating and we need to be sure that there is enough dialogue,” Talabi said.