Pensioners from the 16 local governments in Kwara on Monday said they had begun a seven-day fasting and prayers for God’s intervention over unpaid N7 billion gratuities and pension by the councils.
The Secretary of the Local Government Pensioners Association in Kwara, Saidu Oladimeji, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in llorin.
He said the over 6,000 pensioners had served the 16 councils diligently and were being owed N5 billion gratuity and over N2 billion pension arrears.
The secretary said the essence of the seven days fasting and prayers was to seek God’s favour for the settlement of their entitlements.
Mr. Oladimeji, who said the exercise was voluntary, added that majority of the pensioners were now septuagenarians.
The secretary said since 2008, when the payments became epileptic, the association had lost 1,720 members across the areas.
One of the members of the association and former Secretary of the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Zulu Umar, told NAN that several of his colleagues died without taking their gratuity.
He attributed their death to various ailments and inability to buy drugs or access modern medical treatment following unpaid gratuities and pensions.
Reacting to the fasting and prayers, the Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), lsiaka Danmairomu, described the exercise as the only solution.
Mr. Danmairomu attributed the non payment of backlog of gratuities and pensions to current economic recession which brought about shortfall in monthly allocation to the councils.
The ALGON chairman urged the fasting-pensioners to use the period to pray for the whole country, to overcome various challenges confronting it.
The pensioners had, at a news conference on Feb. 16 in llorin, blamed the Kwara Government for allegedly being insensitive to their plight.