Pensioners in Ogun State on Wednesday defied heavy security presence and downpour at the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta and locked out civil servants from entering the state secretariat over non-payment of N68 billion of 10 years outstanding gratuities
The pensioners, under the aegis of Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN) blocked the two main gates leading to the secretariat, in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, locking out the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, top government appointees and other civil servants for over four hours.
The protesters armed with various inciteful placards with inscriptions such as “gratuities are on sales to pensioners”, “Governor Dapo Abiodun honour your father and treat Pensioners well” and “Governor Abiodun Abiodun, we don’t deserve this worst humiliation”, among others.
Addressing journalists, the State Chairman of LOGPAN, Sikiru Ayilara lamented the alleged inhuman treatments being meted to them by the governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration.
He accused Abiodun of failing to keep his promises to the pensioners, lamenting that, some of them still earn paltry sum of N3,000 as monthly pension.
Ayilara described the quarterly payment of N500 million by the governor which according to him would take 34 years to clear all the gratuities as “a wicked act” which is unacceptable.
He called for the review of the policy by voting N1billion monthly instead of payment of N500m quarterly which they said would take 34 years to clear the outstanding.
Recall that the state government and joint Labour Union Commitee of the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the State government will pay N500 million naira quarterly to offset the outstanding gratuities and pensions.
Addressing the protesters, the Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi maintained that the current administration led by Governor Dapo Abiodun did not owe any gratuities.
Talabi explained that, the current administration has paid a whopping sum of N1billion in two tranches to clear outstanding gratuities by the current administration.
He noted that, the unpaid gratuities were owed by previous administrations.
“The meeting of today will further give us a better understanding of the issue. At the commencement of this administration, we had a robust dialogue with all stakeholders and I’m happy to say we are one of the first set of state to implement the minimum wage.
“The pensioners have basis for their agitation, but all we are saying let’s ensure there’s enough dialogue between all stakeholders.
“We have reached an understanding on the basis that, there were allegations that some people are paid underground. The state government is not aware of this and if we found anything like that, we will make amendment.”
Asked to speak on the numbers of pensioners paid so far, Mr. Talabi said, “I cannot tell specific numbers, but the process is on first occurrence basis, the intention is to start in two N500m, as time goes, we shall allocate a substantial part to increase”.