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Pensioners may sue S’West governors over unpaid gratuities

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By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Southwest chapter, has threatened to sue the governors of the Southwest states of Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo for reneging on their promise to pay consequential adjustment to retirees in their respective states.

The retirees gave the governors up to the end of October to implement this, failing which the NUP would take them court, Orient Weekend reports.

The NUP leaders spoke during its bi-monthly regional meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital.

Briefing newsmen on the contentious issue, the NUP zonal public relations officer, Dr Olusegun Abatan, regretted that the governors of the zone had defaulted in the payment of gratuities and pensions to retirees.

Abatan, who is the NUP secretary in Oyo state, regretted what he called the high-handedness of the government of the zone had continued unabated, particularly in the implementation of 33.4 percent and consequential adjustment to retirees.

He said: “the Southwest had always been regarded as zone of progressives, but it is an irony that a zone that was respected as progressive could be lagging behind in the welfare of workers and pensioners.

“The non-compliance with constitutional provision that when workers’ salaries are increased, then that of pensioners must follow suit has been a matter of concern to all of us.

“The 33.4 percent pension increase done in 2010 has not been implemented in most of these states. Out of six, only Lagos and Ondo had implemented it while Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ogun states have failed in this regard and the body languages of our governors showed that they are not ready to implement this.

“In 2018, there was another increase in workers’ salaries with adjustment from N18,000 to N30,000. There was consequential adjustment for senior workers and the constitution said pensioners too must benefit and the circulars have been made available to states by the federal government.

“We give the governments of Lagos, Ogun, Osun Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti States till the end of October, 2021 within which they should address the consequential adjustment to pensioners, failing which we shall take them to court”.

The NUP spokesperson regretted how Governor Kayode Fayemi had allegedly asked the pensioners to go and get their gratuities in the capital market and forfeit 45 percent of what were due to them.

He said the claim adduced by Fayemi that Ekiti has no capacity to pay was spurious, saying it was tantamount to “trying to give our members a poisoned chalice.”

“It is sad that the salaries of political office holders don’t have issues. It is only that of workers and pensioners that are always affected. I see no reason they should be suffering the cows they had milked dry.”

Abatan added: “I learnt that the Ekiti state government was releasing N100 million every month to pay arrears of gratuities and pensions but, even with this, it will take over 40 years to defray this humongous indebtedness because those who retired after 2013 have not been paid a dime,” Orient Weekend reports.

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