We are fed up, pay our members, South-West pensioners tell Fayemi

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners(NUP) in the South West has called on the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to rise up and pay the entitlements of pensioners in the state.

The NUP zonal Public Relations Officer, Dr Olusegun Abatan who spoke, on Thursday, during the bi-monthly regional meeting held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital regretted that governors of the zone had defaulted in the payment of gratuities and pensions to retirees.

The NUP spokesperson regretted how Governor Fayemi had allegedly asked the pensioners to go and get their gratuities in the capital market and forfeit 45 per cent of what was due to them, which he said was vehemently rejected by the senior citizens.

He explained that the claim advanced by the governor that he resorted to that measure because Ekiti has no capacity to pay was spurious, saying it was tantamount to “trying to give our members a poisoned chalice.”

Abatan said, “The governor (Fayemi) is only interested in speaking good grammar, but that does not translate to money and good governance. We are no longer interested in his grammar. Let him wake up from his slumber and pay our members.

“It is sad that the salaries of political office holders don’t have issues only that of workers and pensioners are always affected. I see no reason why they should be suffering the cows they had milked dry.

“I learnt that the Ekiti State government was releasing N100 million every month to pay arrears of gratuities and pensions, even with this, it will take over 40 years to defray this humongous indebtedness because those who retired after 2013 have not been paid a dime.”

The pensioners also threatened to sue the Southwest governors for reneging on their promise to increase consequential adjustment to retirees in their respective states.

The retirees gave the governors up to the end of October to implement this, failing which the NUP will take them to court.

Abatan, who is the NUP Secretary in Oyo State, regretted that the high-handedness of the government of the zone has continued unabated, particularly in the implementation of 33.4 per cent and consequential adjustment to retirees.

“The Southwest had always been regarded as a zone of progressives, but it is an irony that a zone that was respected as progressive could be lagging behind in the welfare of workers and pensioners.

“The non-compliance with the constitutional provision that when workers’ salaries are increased, then that of pensioners must follow suit has been a matter of concern to all of us.

“The 33.4 per cent pension increase done in 2010 has not been implemented in most of these states. Out of six, only Lagos and Ondo had implemented it while Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and the Ogun States have failed in this regard and the body languages of our governors showed that they are not ready to implement this.

“In 2018, there was another increase in workers salaries with adjustment from N18,000 to N30,000. There was a consequential adjustment for senior workers and the constitution said pensioners too must benefit and the circulars have been made available to states by the federal government.

“We give the governments of Lagos, Ogun, Osun Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti States till the end of October 2021 within which they should address the consequential adjustment to pensioners, failing which we shall take them to court by November.”

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