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Angry pensioners in Ogun State, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, on Tuesday, protested the alleged non-payment of their N68bn gratuities by the state government.
The pensioners said the government owed them 12 years of gratuities arrears.
They described Governor Dapo Abiodun as the “enemy of pensioners” for not fulfilling his promises to ensure the prompt payment of their gratuities and other entitlements.
The pensioners were armed with placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Governor Dapo Abiodun, you should know that pensioners are not slaves, hence they deserve better treatment from the government,’ ‘Mr Governor why did you disobey your father’s instructions to cater for pensioners?’ ‘Governor Dapo Abiodun, stop paying lip service to the rights of the senior citizens in the state,’ and ‘Mr Governor has been nonchalant to the plight of Ogun pensioners.’
They marched from the secretariat in the Leme area of Abeokuta to the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan and chanted anti-government songs to register their grievances.
Addressing journalists during the protest, the chairman of NUP, Waheed Oloyede, accused the governor of deliberately punishing pensioners by denying them their entitlements.
He complained about the non-implementation of a 33.4 per cent increment in their pension.
Oloyede said Abiodun had impoverished pensioners by withholding their gratuities, saying the N5, 000 minimum pension being paid to some of their members “is grossly inadequate to meet the present economic demands.”
He said, “It has become obvious that the governor is insensitive to our plight, and is hell-bent on sustaining his nonchalant attitude towards the vulnerable.
“Since it is realised that there is a calculated delay in action by the government to further drive senior citizens towards the cemetery as many deaths occur daily for lack of economic salvation of the aged, we have, therefore, decided September 27, 2022, to resume our protest.
“This protest is meant to appeal to all well-meaning citizens of Ogun State to prevail on Governor Dapo Abiodun to redeem all his promises based on equity, justice and fairness to the ageing pensioners who now face varying health and psycho-social ageing challenges.
“He (Abiodun) should be reminded that our entitlements are only enjoyable in the land of the living but not in the grave. He should please help to reduce the sharp incidences of daily occurrences of deaths of pensioners in recent times.” Addressing the protesters, the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi, assured them of a quick response to their demands.
“We are trying our best to make sure that all your demands are urgently attended to. You have a legitimate right to make these demands, but we are currently being faced with limited resources,” he said.