By Simon, A. FAKEYE
Ogun State Government has locked out the protesting local government pensioners in a bid to prevent them from accessing the governor to whom they were to present their displeasure regarding the thirty-four years Gratuity payment plan and other depressing conditions.
According to the Pensioners, the Ogun state government has resolved to spread the payment of the ten years outstanding Gratuity totaled sixty-eight billion naira (,N68bn) for thirty-four years through an MoU co-signed by the state and NLC.
The protesters lamented that all the successive governors in the state have been failing in their promises to pay the Gratuity.
The Chairman of the Pensioners, Chief Sikiru Ayilara, who spoke with journalists said that that the Senior Citizens were at the scene with their mats to sleep at the secretariat should the governor refuse to attend to their yearnings.
He said they are tired of repeated unfulfilled promises from government officials.
Ayilara disclosed that they have written eleven letters through many channels to Governor Dapo Abiodun, all to seek his face but with neither acknowledgement nor response.
“We demand that the outstanding gratuities should be fully paid within 24 months and not 34 years as contained in agreement reached with organized labour without our consent.
We also reject the instalmental payment of the N68 billion outstanding gratuities at the rate of N500m quarterly which will take 34 years to offset.
“We demand immediate implementation of the provisions of the circular on 33.4% increase in pension issued in 2014 which they said other neighboring states had long complied with.
“We are calling for verification of whereabout of N3.9billion in the coffers of the Central Bank, Abeokuta Branch lodged by Bureau of Local Government pensions since 2010, adding that the N3.9billion is meant for the payment of gratuities of local government pensioners.
“We ask for payment of N30,000 naira minimum pension to pensioners as against N5,000 minimum pension now being paid in Ogun state”.
They noted that the Governor has already graciously granted N30,500.00 as minimum wage in the civil service but determine to neglect pensioners.
At a meeting held behind closed doors, the government functionaries; Secretary to the State Government, Mr Talabi, Chief of Staff, Alhaji Shuab, Head of Service, Mrs and Hon Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Afolabi Afuape, according to the Pensioners Chairman, Chief Ayilara, insisted that the State Government is facing with serious financial distress such that would prevent it from adding a penny to the N500m quarterly payment.
Ogun State Government does not have the best interest of the Senior Citizens at heart.
“Our lives doesn’t matter to them. You heard the SSG saying ‘ko sigba ta a da aso ti a o ri ile fi wo’, for men and women of seventy years and above. Who among us will be alive in the next 34 years?
“Meaning that if we die without collecting our 35 years saving, they are not bogued. What a government of callous individuals”, Chief Ayilara lamented.