• Osun pensioners decry non-payment of entitlements
From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has appealed to the striking lecturers of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State, to suspend their strike.
The governor lamented that the protracted industrial action could jeopardise the future of the students.
He, however, debunked insinuations that the governors of the two owner states – he and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State are insensitive to the lecturers’ plight and the situation at the LAUTECH.
He insisted that both states, funding the institution, were financially distressed currently.
He expressed disgust that while civil servants in the upper cadre of the civil service agreed to collect a fraction of their salaries, the LAUTECH lecturers refused to make sacrifice and pretended not to understand the poor financial situation of the two states.
“I am using this medium to appeal to the striking lecturers of LAUTECH to return to work in the interest of the students, their parents and guardians, whose future is being jeopardised.
“I urge them to reason along the same line of thought of the two owner states for a solution to be quickly found in solving the problem.
“It will be wrong for anybody to have the notion that the governors are being insensitive towards the situation of the school.
“If the higher cadre of the civil service in Osun can agreed to collect a fraction of their salaries because of the harsh economic condition, I see no reason the LAUTECH lectures cannot reason with government,” Aregbesola said.
He said a proper audit of the LAUTECH accounts had become imperative as part of the solution to the crisis rocking the institution.
“I appeal to the lecturers to return to class while a proper audit of the school will be done to unravel the real problem of the university, so we solve it,”Aregbesola added.
Meanwhile, retired staff of the 30 local government areas of Osun State have protested the non-payment of their almost 12 months pension arrears.
The pensioners lamented they had been abandoned by government, adding that the non-payment of their entitlements had worsened their living conditions and made life miserable for them.
Coordinator, Forum of Local Government Retirees, Lanre Fadahunsi, who addressed newsmen in Osogbo, said in the last 24 months, members of the group had been receiving half of their monthly pension.
He asked government to ensure immediate payment of the arrears in full.
He, however, accused the agency responsible for the payment of salary in the state as well as the banks handling the disbursement of pensions of deliberately delaying the payment.
Regardless, the state government has expressed readiness to develop various indigenous festivals to international level as part of strategies to generate revenue.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, who disclosed this at the weekend, during the 2017 Egungun Festival at the Oluwo of Iwo’s Palace, said the festivals had the capacity to attract and ignite international participation that could translate to huge revenues for development purposes.
Okanlawon, while stating the position of the government on the need to raise alternative sources of revenues, said experiences had shown that Nigeria was in the throes of economic hardship.
He reiterated Aregbesola’s stance that oil revenues could no longer be the basis of the state’s future development plans.
He said the Aregbesola’s administration’s massive infrastructure projects was also a part of the avenues to make the state attractive to tourists.