ByÂ DemolaÂ AkinyemiÂ
The Court of Appeal sitting in IlorinÂ has ordered Kwara State government to pay the 50 percent balance of arrears totaling N1.68 billion being gratuities and pensions owed 9,024 pensioners in the state.
In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Benson West, the court directed the state government to ensure the payment of the arrears within the nextÂ six months beginning from the day of the delivery of the judgment.
The pensionersÂ earlier had their case struck out at the State High on March 5, 2010 on the grounds that they lacked jurisdiction and authorization of the 9,024 pensioners they claim to represent to file the case.
The claimants sought for an order mandating the governor and/or his agents to pay them the balance of N1.68billion illegally withheld from their pensions as well as an order of injunction restraining further acts of withholding or deducting or stoppage of their pensions and gratuities in total disregard of the statutory provisions.
The pensioners were also praying for the courtâ€™s declaration that the governor or his agents\assigns cannot and did not validly withhold or alter their pensions and gratuities.
Other declaration of the Court sought by the pensioners was that the unilateral stoppage, non_payment and deduction of 50 percent of their pensions and gratuities as a contravention of Section 210 of the 1999 constitution and Section 10 of the Kwara State Pensions and Gratuity Law, 2008.