Pensioners in Osun on Tuesday held a peaceful protest to demand payment of their outstanding entitlements and pension arrears.
Our correspondent reports that the procession of protesting pensioners carrying placards with various inscriptions marched from Ayetoro junction through major roads of Osogbo to Olaiya Junction.
Alhaji Ganiyu Salau, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Osun, said the protest became necessary as a lot of their members were suffering and dying due to neglect by the government.
Salau said that the union had made several futile efforts since March to have audience with Gov. Rauf Aregbesola.
He said pensioners in the state were suffering and that many of them had died, some bedridden and some were even evicted from their homes due to non-payment of house rents.
The chairman said that many of their members could no longer pay their children’s school fees.
Salau said that since the pension of retirees was slashed to half, it was not being paid as and when due.
“The state government is still owing 17 months pension arrears plus the balance of 142 per cent pension increment approved in 2010.’’
According to him, retirees from 2008 to 2012 are yet to be paid their full gratuities.
Salau appealed to the state government to pay pensioners’ entitlements and to equally stop paying them modulated (half) pension.
Meanwhile, the National Principal Senior Assistant-General of NUP, Mr Godwin Amadi, who joined the protesters in solidarity from the national headquarters, said the case and situation of pensioners in the state was pathetic.
Amadi said that during the last visit to the state by the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, Aregbeshola had promised to settle all workers and pensioners entitlements.
He said that it was, therefore, a surprise that the governor had yet to fulfill the promise.
Reacting to the protest, the Osun Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, explained that the delay in payment of pensions and arrears of salary was due to the delay in federal allocation to states and local governments.
Baderinwa said the state government had been keeping to the agreement signed with labour and that full payment of salaries and pension would be paid when the finances of the state improved.