By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—LOCAL Government Pensioners Association, LGPA, in Edo State, yesterday, traded words with the Special Adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Media Affairs, Prince Kassim Afegbua, over the payment of pensions to local government pensioners.
While the Edo State LGPA, claimed the law establishing Pension Boards made it mandatory for the federal, states and local governments to jointly fund the Local Government Staff Pension Board, LGSPB, Afegbua insisted that the state government had nothing to do with the payment of councils’ pensioners benefits as they were not its employees.
LGPA, in a statement by its state president and Secretary, Mr. J.U.Obakpolo, and Mr. T.E.Uwagboe, respectively, in a response to an earlier statement credited to Afegbua, argued that by the provisions of Section 210 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, state governments were mandated to take charge of pensions in their states.
The body contended that it was the “state government that collects local government allocations from the federal government monthly as well as controls all parastatals including the Edo State Local Government Staff Pension Board.
It also argued that it was the responsibility of the state government to pay the pensions as it was responsible for constituting any board of inquiring into the affairs of each local government when the need arose.
However, reacting to the claim, Afegbua, said that his statement on the issue was to set the record straight that the state government had nothing to do with the payment of councils’ pensioners benefits because they were not its employees.
He said, “They should channel their protests to the appropriate quarters. If they are saying that Governor Oshiomhole should intervene, that can be noted and not that the state government should pay their pension arrears. They are not our employees. The Edo State government cannot for instance go to the Federal government to pay the pension arrears of its pensioners.”