Pensioners on Monday staged a protest against the Osun State government over what they described as the non-payment of their pension for 36 months.
The pensioners were joined by a political group, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), demanding payment of over three years arrears of their pension, as well as their gratuity.
The group, in a statement jointly signed by the Osun State Coordinator, Alfred Adegoke and the Secretary, Kola Ibrahim on Monday, condemned the action of the government against the retirees who retired under the state public service.
The group accused the Osun State government of being nonchalant about their workers and according to the group, the state government has portrayed ‘anti-worker’.
It also stated that since the administration of a former governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the Minister of Interior, up till the current government led by Governor Gboyega Oyetola, Osun State has failed to remit the statutory payment to its former workers.
The statement read: “Looking the other way for about three years — asking retirees to wait for another round of hardly productive negotiations that have run to months before their entitlements are paid.
“We find as puerile the excuse by the government that there is no money to pay the arrears of pensions and gratuities, including more than 15 months of outstanding salaries and pensions. The same government that pays politicians and political appointees humongous emoluments has no excuse to deny retirees their entitlements after decades of service to the state.
“It is a sheer case of moral bankruptcy. The same government that could borrow about N3 billion at an exorbitant interest rate to reconstruct an existing and functional road with less than 500-meter fly-over in Osogbo, has no excuse of paucity fund when it comes to paying thousands of long-suffering retirees.
“The same government that is claiming lack of funds handed over N11 billion to private contractors, many of whom abandoned many road projects or left them uncompleted after initially collecting more than 50 percent of contract sum. The N11 billion was part of the refund for federal roads undertaken by the state government.
“The same state government who could pay contractors who defrauded the state, has no excuse not to pay retirees. If the state government is sincere about paucity of funds, we challenge it to make the financial record of the state open for public scrutiny; and it will be glaring, how politicians and their big business collaborators have cornered the resources of the state.”