- A group of retirees led by Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, a former judge of the Osun state high court, on Wednesday, July 25, went on protest over their unpaid pension
- The protesters alleged that the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led government had failed to pay them their pensions for 18 months
- Commenting on the development, Oloyede said that any government that fails to see to the welfare and security of its people is not fit to rule
Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, a former judge of the Osun state high court, on Wednesday, July 25, led a huge number of retirees in protest against the non-payment of their gratuities and pensions by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led government.
Marching through some streets in Osogbo, the state capital, the protesters demanded the payment of the money owed them by the government, Punch reports.
In 2015, Oloyede had written a petition against Aregbesola’s administration, enumerating the alleged failure of the government in several areas like non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.
Speaking with newsmen recently, the retired judge said that the fundamental duties of any responsible government were seeing to the welfare of the citizens and their security, adding that any government that failed in the two areas had failed completely in the discharge of its primary duties.
Oloyede said pensioners would be persistent in their struggle to ensure that their pensions and gratuities were paid.
She remarked: “Labourers deserve their wages and it is covetousness to spend what belongs to other people. It is a crime to spend pensions and gratuities of the people and deny them their rights. We are not beggars, we worked for the entitlements and the government saved this money for us while we were serving the state."
When asked if she was also being owed, Oloyede said: “Is there any pensioner that is not being owed in this state? Some are being paid half pensions and others are being owed.
“The whole essence of government is for the welfare and security of the people. Anybody who is satisfied with hardship can choose to ensure the government continues, but those who are not satisfied should vote for who they like with their PVCs.”
Confirming the development, Alhaji Yemi Lawal, one of the leaders of a forum of 2011/2012 retirees, said the state government was owing some of the pensioners about 18 months due to part payment of their pensions.
Lawal stated: “But pensioners will not stop demanding for their rights. The state government has concentrated on infrastructural development at the expense of workers and pensioners’ welfare.”
Meanwhile, one of the retirees, a 78-year-old school teacher, Joseph Olaoye, slumped during the protest.
Olaoye’s colleagues rushed him to the bus belonging to the Nigeria Union of Pensioners parked at the venue of the protest and gave him water and glucose.
Olaoye, who was a teacher at a primary school in the Gbonmi area of Osogbo, became stable and refused to leave the scene but sat inside the bus till the end of the protest.
The commissioner for Information, Adelani Baderinwa, referred to the pensioners as ungrateful people who had refused to acknowledge the efforts made by the governor to pay them.
Baderinwa said: “It is out of place to say that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola is insensitive to the plight of the pensioners. The protesting pensioners are out for a cheap blackmail against the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
“It is on record that this group of pensioners had at one time or the other in the past lied against the government of the State of Osun.
“The government wishes to call the attention of the people of the State of Osun to the fact that the 2011/2012 group of pensioners does not represent the totality of pensioners in the state. The 2011/2012 pensioners are politicians and not pensioners. They are in pursuit of political matters.
“It amounts to ingratitude, mischief and politicisation of fact to accuse Aregbesola of not paying pensions and gratuities by anybody. It is very unfortunate that some of our senior citizens allowed themselves to be used by politicians to disrupt the ongoing progress of the state.”
Earlier, NAIJ.com had reported that pensioners in Osun state on Tuesday, July 24, hit the streets in a fresh protest against the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
NAIJ.com gathered that hundreds of retirees assembled 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.
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