Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
PENSIONERS in Oyo state have cried out over unpaid arrears of gratuities and pensions totaling N62.5billion by the outgoing government of the state.
Speaking with newsmen over the weekend, Secretary of retired Primary school teachers, Comrade Tunji Ogunwale and Secretary Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Oyo State Comrade Segun Abatan, stated that unpaid pensions and gratuities to retired primary school teachers and civil servants had made it difficult for retirees in the state to rest after labour for 35 years.
According to him, it amounts to cheating and exploitation of the common patrimony by the political class to do nothing for the people yet enjoying life pensions.
While noting that what is good for the goose is good for the ganders, the scribe says pension for political office holders is killing the nation.
“It is workers today, pensioners tomorrow. How can somebody serve for four years and continue to take life pension? If that is it then we want to propose that workers should also serve for four years, get out and take their pension for life. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Let us see if the economy of this country is going to sustain it.”
On unpaid arrears of pension by the outgoing Ajimobi government, the duo said pensioners are owed between eight to sixty months while lamenting that some pensioners receive two thousand naira as pension in the state.
The secretary of retired primary school teachers noted that “today Oyo State government is owing to us 62.5billion naira. That is the amount of gratuities left unpaid. I am personally being owed thirty-five months pension arrears. They are owing some of us sixty months, some fifty-five and some of us forty months. It varies from eight to 60 months. He has never paid anybody gratuity since eight years ago. If we had not gone to court that means he would not have deemed it fit to pay a dime for eight years.”
Abatan said: “The government has started paying about N1.5 billion to kick-start even though we know it has not scratched the surface. You owe somebody N60 billion and you released N1.5 billion. How many years will it take you to vacate the remaining humongous debt? The Union has taken the government to court. As I speak with you we have pensioners in Oyo State that still earn two thousand naira per month.”