Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Pensioners in Ondo State, on Wednesday, staged a protest to press home their demand for payment of their accumulated pension and gratuities arrears.
The pensioners also gave Governor Rotimi Akeredolu 21 days ultimatum to pay the arrears.
The senior citizens, who blocked the entrance to the governor’s office at Alagbaka, Akure, carried placards with various inscriptions.
Led by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Raphael Adetuwo, the retirees said government owe them N43 billion from 2012 till date.
Adetuwo demaded that the last tranche of Paris Club debt refund paid to the state government be used to settle outstanding workers’ salaries, pensions and gratuities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If President Buhari saw salaries and pensions as means of livelihood, and if he rightly doled out Paris Club loan refund to the state governors to enhance immediate payment of salaries and pensions, such money should be used for the purpose,” he said.
Also, NUP Secretary, Sunday Akinzue, threatened that they would be forced to relocate from their homes and occupy the governor’s office permanently, if Akeredolu refused to attend to the retirees’ demands by the end of October.
Meanwhile, the state government yesterday gave succour to over 76 market women and petty-traders whose means of livelihood were destroyed by fire that ravaged the Akure Central Market in June. The popular Oba Adesida Market in Akure, the state capital was gutted by fire in June.
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Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi, whose office is in charge of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), presented the money to the affected victims.
The event, which was attended by the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, also had in attendance members of the state executive council. The deputy governor presented N500,000 to each of the beneficiaries, just as food items and other materials were given to them. Akeredolu had earlier visited the market and the palace of the Deji of Akure, where he promised government would come to the aid of the victims.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Ajayi said the gesture was part of responsibilities of the government, saying the primary aim of the administration was the welfare of the masses.