The Ogun State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, on Thursday accused the state government of maltreating them.
The pensioners in their thousands converged on the Nigeria Labour Congress secretariat along Moshood Abiola Way, Abeokuta for a stakeholders’ meeting to register their displeasure over government’s alleged nonchalant attitude to their welfare.
The chairman of the pensioners, Kensington Odukoya, said the government had failed to pay gratuity and pension since 2013, saying the governor had made several unfulfilled promises.
“All efforts and appeals to the state government to have mercy on us proved abortive.
“Series of meetings were held with the government, and even with the governor in attendance, but it always ended in promises. Enough is enough.
“Elders are not only being denied their walking sticks but also beaten below the belt.
“Ogun State government should give us a living pension. Pensioners, workers and political leaders buy from the same market.
“Ogun State government should please have mercy on us, and harmonise our pension.
“Since the advent of this administration, all the requests repeatedly made through various letters, meetings, dialogues and appeals to His Excellency have yielded no result,” the pensioners cried out.
The union lamented further that the state still pays as low as N2,000 as pension and refused to comply with the provision of the constitution that calls for a review every five years.
“Nigeria and its leadership, is endowed with many things, but lacking in mercy and sympathy.
“Section 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 Nigeria constitution as amended stipulate that pension must be reviewed every five years.
“The lack of mercy and sympathy led to the disregard of this aspect of the constitution by our government.
“I don’t know anywhere all over the world where pensioners are paid an equivalent of N2,000 monthly pension except in Nigeria.
“An amount not enough to feed the dog of an elite as breakfast is being paid to a human being for 30 days.
“It would be observed that Ogun State government had increased workers salaries and wages on four occasions without any recourse to pensioners, hence there is wide gap between the old and new pensioners of the same retirement conditions.
The union called on the state government to constitute the statutory pension management committees for the two bureaux, which include state and local government to be managing their pension funds in line with the Ogun State law.
However, the state government in an address at the meeting commended the pensioners for providing platform to shed more lights on governmental activities with respect to pension administration.
The Head of Service, Sola Adeyemi, who was represented by the director, Bureau of State Pension, Taiwo Adebiyi, lamented that the present administration inherited backlog of gratuity from immediate past administration.
“Regrettably, the current cash crunch occasioned by economic depression made government to prioritize its payment by ensuring regular payment of monthly pension to our citizens in order to keep body and soul together, while gratuity is paid in accordance with the cash flow of the state,” he said.
The Head of Service added that government would not allow welfare of pensioners to be overridden by other activities.
“As you are all aware, every retired officer is entitled to pension and gratuity or gratuity only based on his/her module of retirement,” he said.
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