By Shina Abubakar, OSOGBO
PENSIONERS in Osun state, under the aegis of Contributory Pensioners, yesterday, thronged major roads in Osogbo, protesting government’s failure to pay their entitlement.
Their leader, Mr. Oyadare Gbenga, said the state government owed pensioners in the state N50 billion, both in accrued rights and contributory pensions.
Addressing journalists at the secretariat, Gbenga said: “The total amount owed pensioners in the state is N50 billion, which is about half of the state’s budget.
“Governor Adegboyega Oyetola should seek bailout from the Federal Government, if he refuses to borrow to pay us. We cannot continue to let our people die due to hunger and lack of money.
“Our accrued rights, which is our entitlements before the commencement of the contributory pension in May 2010 and the monthly contributory pensions are yet to be paid, five years after retirement.
“Some people have been paid, but they are here to show solidarity with others.
“Many of our colleagues have been down with one sickness or other ailments such as stroke, diabetes, blindness etc. We cannot continue like this. The governor must be proactive about resolving the issue.
Osun gov reacts
Reacting, the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said: “Since we came in, in 2018, we have paid salaries and pensions as and when due.
“And we are steadily reducing even the arrears we inherited from the previous administration.
“To show commitment, we just devised a strategy to ensure that those under the Contributory Pension scheme, and whose entitlements are from N100,000 to N500,000 were paid up to December 2020.
“Also, we have taken on those from N501, 000 to 1millon, N1m to N1.5m and N1.5 to N2m and we are not relenting. In the last two months, we have paid over 300 Contributory Pensioners.
“From 2018 to date, we have expended about N40billion to cater for our senior citizens.
“This is a demonstration of love and commitment to our senior citizens and we won’t relent.
“Rather than resort to civil unrest, we appeal to our senior citizens to show understanding and be a little more patient with Government.”