Osun State retirees protest against unpaid pensions

Pensioners in Osun State on Tuesday trooped to the streets in Osogbo to stage a peaceful protest over unpaid pensions arrears by the state government.

The placards-carrying pensioners gathered at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park before they took to the streets, singing solidarity songs.

Some of the inscriptions in the placards read: “our welfare and well-being is very important, pay us our money; “Stop killing us indirectly – please pay us,’’ among others.

Leader of the pensioners, Mr Gbenga Oyadare, told newsmen that they took to the streets to dispel the rumour that government had released money to pay their pension arrears.

Oyadare noted that his colleagues were yet to receive their monthly stipends, adding that any information against their stand should be regarded as fake news.

According to him, the state government should pay the pensions and accrued arrears.

“Pensioners are suffering and also finding it difficult to buy drugs and food due to non-payment of their entitlements.

“The information that money has been released to pay us is disturbing because we are yet to receive our entitlements from the government,’’ he said.

Oyadare appealed to Gov. Gboyega Oyetola to rescue the pensioners by ensuring that their demands were met to enable them to meet up with their immediate needs and also have a better life.

Meanwhile, the state government has appealed to the protesting pensioners to be a little patient.

Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, while reacting to the protest, said government was doing everything to review their demands, which she said had been tabled at a cabinet meeting about 10 days ago.

Egbemode noted that rather than take to the streets, the senior citizens should show understanding and be patient with government.

According to the commissioner, since 2018, government has never defaulted in payment of pensions and gratuities, including those of contributory pensioners, just as it is gradually clearing the backlog it inherited.

“From 2018 to date, we have expended about N40 billion to cater to 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,’’ the commissioner said. – NAN.

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