We Are Dying Of Hunger – Osun Pensioners Lament
Scores of civil servants, who belong to teaching and non-teaching cadre in primary and secondary schools in Osun State, and retired between July 2015 and July 2016 have lamented protracted starvation due to non-payment of their pension and gratuity.
They said their economic predicament has put their lives and that of their families in jeopardy and penury, despite being captured under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Speaking at a press conference in Osogbo, the Osun state capital on Wednesday, their spokesperson, Comrade Adeosun Adegbemiga carpeted the state government for being insensitive to their plights after serving meritorious for decades.
“We are appealing to Osun government to graciously put sufficient funds into the Contributory Pension Scheme as its counterpart funding, and save thousands of our colleagues from dying cheaply.
“We want the government to know that these retirees have not received a dime for over three years, a situation that has made our lives extremely miserable.
” We are also appealing to government to release our Bond Certificates, and remit all deductions to our pension administrators after completing the process of our retirement for over three years”,
Adegbemiga further explained that the government has contravened Contributory Pension Law of Osun State, as enacted by the parliament in 2008, over its failure to remit deductions from their salaries to pension administrators.
HORLIQS-ENT recalls that another group of pensioners, who retired between 2011/2012 had on Tuesday and Wednesday last week thronged Osogbo metropolis to protest the non-payment of their pension arrears and gratuity, alleging diversion of N6.3bn Paris Club refund released by the Federal Government as bailout to the state.
The Chairman of the group, Mr. Yemi Lawal said the present government in the state has not made any effort aimed at bringing succour to pensioners after the protracted economic predicament they suffered during the last administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
He further described retirees in the state as the most traumatized in the country, adding that it was unfortunate that they were suffering instead of enjoying their meritorious service of many decades to the state.
“It would be out of place for the governor to divert a lump sum of N6.3bn Paris refund, which was specifically meant for the payment of arrears of pension and other outstanding debts owed by the government.
“Many of our children were out of schools because we are unable to pay their school fees, we are indeed in a serious financial mess. The most disheartening part of the issue is that the government has refused to remit its contribution to those who retired under contributing pensioners since 2015″,
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Adeniyi Adesina in his reaction described the allegation as” absolute falsehood ” saying the senior citizens had gone to town with baseless claim and unfounded rumour.
“That is absolute falsehood, it is shocking that elderly people of those ages could go to town base on falsehood, and failed to get their facts right before started making wild allegations that are unfounded.
“To set the record straight, the state has not been given any Paris refund, such funds would be publicly announced if given to any state. That is why I said it is shocking, even to the governor, that people who are elders could go to town base on false claims.
“Before the governor came into office, he promised that he would be transparent; he said that he would run a transparent government, and he has not reneged that promise”,
He was however silent on the rationale behind the failure of the government to pay pension and gratuity of the senior citizens as well as reason for non-remittance of deductions to pension administrators.