Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Pensioners in Ogun state on Wednesday shutdown the Governor’s Office in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta in protest of the non payment of N68b 10 years outstanding gratuity.
The pensioners, under the aegis of Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN) blocked the two main gates of the Governor’s Office secretariat, preventing the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi and other civil servants from gaining entrance for over four hours.
The protesters, armed with placards with inscriptions such as: “gratuities are on sales to pensioners”, “Governor Dapo Abiodun honour your father and treat Pensioners well” and “Governor Abiodun Abiodun, we don’t deserve this worst humiliation”, among others accused the state governor of failing to keep his promises to the pensioners.
Addressing journalists, the State Chairman of LOGPAN, Sikiru Ayilara lamented that, some of them still earn paltry sum of N3,000 as monthly pension.
Ayilara described the quarterly payment of N500 million by the governor which according to him would take 34 years to clear all the gratuities as “a wicked act” which is unacceptable.
He called for the review of the policy by voting N1billion monthly instead of payment of N500m quarterly.
According to him, the association had written 13 letters to the governor seeking his audience to address their demands, a the governor has remained recalcitrant and unyielding to demands”.
He listed some of their demands to include, non-payment of gratuities, lateness of pension payment, non-increment in the monthly pensions and discrimination against the members of the association by the government among others.
Ayilara insisted that, it is illegal for the state government to be paying their pension through the Ministry of Finance instead of the Bureau of Local government pensions.
“We have written 13 letters to the Governor through various channels without response. We had informed all security apparatus in the state: DSS, Commissioner of police, Commandant of NSCDC, SSA on security matters to the Governor. They all intervened without any positive response from the Governor.
“We had informed all the four paramount rulers in the state with no result. We had held six meetings with the SSG, Chief of Staff, Head of Service, Commissioner for LG and Chieftaincy Affairs, among other notable government officials.
“Governor Abiodun should honour us; grandfathers and grandmothers and direct his personal attention to us for us to meet and find lasting solution to the inhuman treatments being meted to us at our old age, leading to untimely death death among us after serving the state for between 10 and 35 years.
“We demand immediate harmonisation of the pensions. We demand regular payment of our pensions as it was.”
Responding to the pensioners, the SSG, Tokunbo Talabi appealed to the pensioners to be more patient with the government, saying “the government is currently experiencing hard times.”
He assured that the government would look into the demands of the pensioners.