Pensioners in Osun state on Tuesday, July 24, hit the streets in a fresh protest against the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities, The Punch reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that hundreds of retirees gathered at Ayetoro area of the town as early as 7am and marched towards the popular Olaiya junction singing and praying to God to save them from starvation.
The retirees said the government was owing them 18 months pensions because of the modulated payment policy since 2015, adding that many of them who retired since 2011 had not been paid their gratuities.
The pensioners carried placards with various inscriptions denouncing the nonpayment of their entitlements. The senior citizens said about 2,500 of their members had died as at March, 2018.
Alhaji Ganiyu Salawu, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Osun state chapter, said Governor Rauf Aregbesola had refused to pay the 33% as well as the 142% increment implemented for pensioners.
Salawu said: “Majority of our people are dying of hunger. Our entitlement not regular, and the issue of half salaries and pension is very bad. The 33 per cent increase implemented in 2010 has not been implemented. The 142 per cent increment is not paid also.
“We have written letters to the governor but there is no acknowledgement of our letters, we also wrote five reminder letters, still there is no response.
“We don’t have any grudge against the government but we want our entitlements. We are not politicians and no politician is using us, what we what is that out entitlements should be paid so that we can begin to live a decent life. We have worked so hard and now that we are supposed to be eating the fruits of our labour, the government is depriving us.
“Some of our members have been ejected from homes because they can’t pay rent, our children are out of schools. Some of our graduates are jobless, so, how do they take care of themselves let alone their parents."
Meanwhile, Alhaji Yemi Lawal, the leader of Forum of 201/2012 Retirees, said no fewer than 2,500 retirees had died as at March saying the majority of the deceased died due to starvation and frustration.
Lawal said. “The governor is using the money to construct roads and build schools even where there are no pupils. A kilometre of road is constructed on the average with N600 million in most states in the country but in Osun, it is N1.2 billion and this is why there is focus on road construction.
“Our people are dying on daily basis and that is why we are out to protest again. We cannot continue to watch this happening on a daily basis. The governor was paid a bailout of N35 billion, Paris club repayment and budget support of N14 billion but he is still owing us. This agitation will continue until we are paid.
"We have recorded 2500 deaths among our members as at March this year and a retired headmaster committed such in Ejigbo. We wrote to the lawmakers at the House of Assembly and they have not responded since. The lawmakers are fighting for their pockets.”
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Recall that the Osun state government committed N5.1 billion out of the N6.3 billion second tranche Paris club refund received from the federal government for the payment of salaries and pensions.
NAIJ.com previously reported that following the payment of over N5.1 billion to workers by the state government, pensioners under the aegis of Forum 2011/12 retired public servant in Osun staged a well-planed protest demanding for more payment from the government.
The protest which coincided with the 3rd day Fidua prayer of Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola, mother of the governor, was staged to press home more payment from the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
How Aregbesola broke African records in Osun state on NAIJ.com TV