Yetunde Oladejo – Osogbo
Retirees in Osun state on Tuesday thronged Osogbo, the Osun state capital, to protest the non-payment of their gratuities and pension arrears.
The pensioners in their hundreds converged at the popular Ayetoro junction and began the protest around 9.am.
They carried placards of various inscriptions such as “Rauf Aregbesola Should be Charged for Genocide, “No Fewer than 2,000 Pensioners Have Died as a Result of Nonpayment of Gratuities, “President Muhammadu Buhari: Save Osun People Now, among others.
Addressing journalists during the procession, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state, Prince Ganiyu Salawu, disclosed the state government is presently owing over 18 months pension arrears with huge gratuities.
Salawu stated that the pensioners in the state are dying of hunger and starvation as a result of irregular payment of their entitlements.
He said no pensioners have been given the 33 per cent increase since it was implemented in 2010, while the 42 percent that was paid for some times has also stopped.
The union noted that efforts to have a dialogue with the government have been futile as appointment booked with the Governor since March has not been acknowledged despite about six reminders that followed the letter.
His words: “It is unequivocally clear that Governor Aregbesola and the labour union have perfected how to completely enslave the innocent workers. The level of suffering is alarming and unimaginable.
“The essence of federal allocations is to cater for the welfare of the people for them to live good life, in the contrary, Aregbesola has used money meant to pay salaries and pensions to execute inflated contracts to satisfy his selfish interest.
“It is also very unfortunate that we have dishonourable members in the Osun State House of Assembly, those who could not protect the interests of the people they represent.
“If truly we have serious representatives in that parliament, how come the governor incurred that huge debt under their nose, and nothing could be done to prevent such financial recklessness.
“We are hereby calling every stakeholder in Osun and the Federal government to come to our rescue and save our members from further death,” he said.
Salawu added that their protest was as a result of hunger and hardship they are facing, saying their protest is devoid of any political support.