By Dayo Johnson
AKURE — AFTER 25 years working in the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, pensioners, aged between 70 and 90 years, have subsequently dragged the institution management before the National Industrial Court, Akure for the settlement of the pensions and gratuities.
•Some of the pensioners at the industrial court in Akure
The retirees, Vanguard, gathered retired from the college as academic and non-academic staff and have all along been awaiting their entitlements.
In their pitiable conditions, some in crutches, wheel chairs and aided by their loved ones thronged the National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Akure, Ondo State to demand for their rights from the college management.
They were led by Dr Festus Oloyede Ogunbayo, who told Vanguard that:
“Having served the Ekiti State Government in their youthful years should be taken care of when they are nearing their grave.”
Ogunbayo said: “They should not be allowed to die avoidable death like their counterparts who have died for lack of money to take care of themselves.
“We decided to take our case to court so that the management of the College of Education and the State Government can be compelled to pay us our pensions and gratuities running in billion of Naira.
“None of them, who retired since 1993, have collected any form of gratuity or pension from the Ekiti State Government owned institution.
“This development has led to the death of not less than 100 of us who have died avoidable deaths since they have no money to take care of themselves. Since they are in their seventies and nineties, they needed money for food and drugs.”
Narrating their plight, Ogunbayo said: “We have not been paid a dime since 1993 which means 25 years whereas other retired workers in Ekiti State have been paid up to 2014. But our own is special case for 25 years.
“Many of our people are facing a lot of hardship. We are appealing to the State Government and the College to come to our aid. The College should do something, they should pay us.
“The College gives excuse that it has no money. Out of 400 that have retired up to date, more than a hundred have passed on. The government should pay us. We are aged people, we need money for everything.
“We have an association and we have been meeting government. Unfortunately, they are not doing anything.
“Some four years ago, we decided to register this association. We met severally with the management; we sent representation to the government during Dr Kayode Fayemi who has just come in now.
“He said he was going to do something; he set up ministerial committee to look into our case, to find out how much government was owing.
“As at that time it was less than N500 million, unfortunately, he did not get the second term.