By Dayo Johnson
NO fewer than 31 sacked workers of the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, Ondo State have sent a Save-Our-Soul letter to the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan over the failure of the Federal Pension Board to pay their gratuities and pension arrears from 2008 till date.
The sacked workers who were disengaged from service on 16 April 2007 are of the lower cadre as a result of the Federal Government’s reform of the public service through its monetization policy.
They are equally demanding for the payment of the three month in lieu of notice from the Federal Government.
In a letter made available to Vanguard, the disengaged workers described the shoddy treatment meted on them by the Federal Government as an injustice of the highest order.
Their spokesman, Mr Samuel Idowu Alejo said having spent up to10 years inÂ the service, the workers deserved to be paid gratuities and pensions.
Alejo wondered why some of their colleagues in other states have been paid their entitlements on monthly basis.
The workers accused the Federal Pension Board of short paying some of their colleagues whose dates of service were changed to deny them of their benefits
According to them: â€œGoing by the Federal Government Pension Decree, 1979 as amended, we are entitled to monthly pension because we fell within the old scheme which guaranteed retirees either voluntary or compulsory pension.
â€œOne expects government policy to be interpreted uniformly because as at 2007 when we were disengaged the old policy on pension schemeÂ covered us and this put us in advantage of monthly pension because the old scheme terminated on 31 June 2007.
â€œIt is pertinent to note that most of our colleagues in sister institutions are enjoying their monthly pension without hindrance. We beg the Acting President to urgently wade into the matter, so that our demands can be met.”
The workers added that â€œdespite different letters written to the office of the Permanent Secretary and the Head of Service of the Federation, nothing meaningful has been done on the issue.
â€œDespite the fact that our letter was replied on 31 July 2009 through the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, nothing serious has been done to correct the anomalies.”
Say workers are living in penury
They pleaded with the office of the Head of Service of the Federation to direct the Accountant-General Office to pay their pension arrears because some of the disengaged workers are living in abject penury.
Besides, they urged the Head of Service to make sure that the money owed them was paid through the Accountant-General Office and not via insurance companies.
â€œGoing by the hardship engulfing the world, you will agree with us that the unexpected retirement is not palatable to our families without paying them their due entitlements.”