FOR the umpteenth time, retired primary school teachers in Oyo state on Monday protested the accumulation of pension arrears of 17 to 56 months and non-receipt of gratuities since 2008.
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Oyo council, Mr Gbadegesin Akande who led the placards bandying protesters to Governor’s office, Ibadan, warned that the affected retired primary school teachers may be forced to curry the involvement of other pensioners to regular protests if the state government failed to attend to its demands.
Surrounded by raised placards bearing inscriptions like, “Our children are home, pay our allowances”, “Enough is Enough”, Akande decried the poor plight of the retired teachers such that pensioners only got January 2017 pension this November.
While pointing to a July 2014 directive of Governor Abiola Ajimobi directive on modalities for regular payment of pensions, Akande said it was baffling that the directive was not heeded to leading to accumulated pensions and gratuities.
“While we plead with the Oyo government to quickly accede to the demands of these retired primary school teachers, our union will not hesitate to call out all pensioners out on sympathy for these teachers as well as request that demands of our pensioners which the government had refused to address over the years be met,” Akande said.
Similarly, Executive Secretary, NUP Oyo, Mr Olusegun Abatan said retired primary school teachers received a monthly pension of N219 million as against the required sum of about N450 million, hence the accumulation.
Abatan argued that the arrears would not have continued to accumulate if government paid 100 percent of pensions monthly rather than varying percentages.
He further chided government’s attribution of the situation to embezzlement of funds by past administrations.
Addressing the protesters, state Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Adeyemo appealed to the pensioners to remain patient for government to attend to the issues.
According to Adeyemo, who spoke in the company of some other members of the state executive council, the state government would not intentionally fail to pay pensioners.
He decried economic challenges and embezzlement of government funds overtime, but said the state would examine the issues with a view to resolving them.
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