..as 3000 pensioners march on Oyo Governor’s office
About 3000 retired primary school teachers, under the aegis of the National Union of Pensioners in Oyo State, on Monday stormed the streets of Ibadan today protest what they described as the insensitivity of the state government to their retirement benefits.
Guardian noticed the weak and aged members of the union labouring under the hot sun, early in the day marched from the Yidi Area office of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the NTA Ibadan Complex.
They later moved to the MITC office complex, from where they proceeded to the Governor’s office, at the Mokola Secretariat.
Apparently moved by the sight of the aged pensioners, The Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, in company of the Secretary to the state Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli and some of aides of the of the Governor, spoke with the pensioners.
He disclosed to the pensioners that the Governor was not in the country, sa he has travelled to the United Kingdom. He however, assured the pensioners of an audience with his boss as soon as he returns to the country.
”You are welcome . we feel for your plight. However, The Governor has travelled out of the country at the moment, and I cannot do anything about your plight, under the Governor comes back.
”The governor shall grant an audience with your executives when he returns”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Oyo State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Waheed Olojede said the leadership of the labour union could not stop the aggrieved retired teachers from protesting the non -payment of their pensions.
According to him, several pleas made to the Oyo State Government to settle the arrears of pensions which runs to between 17- 56 months, has not yielded any tangible result.
Olojede said, “We have made several efforts from the union to make the government settle the arrears but all meetings we have had so far have not yielded any fruits.”
“So, when they gathered at the NLC secretariat this morning, I could not stop them. They are being owed between 17 and 56 months. Tell me how can you stop them even when the government has not shown any positive action. Many of these old people have suffered and died waiting for their legitimate entitlements. You can’t believe that some of these pensioners receive as low as N3,000, N4,000 and yet they are not being paid regularly.”
The Secretary of the Nigeria Union Of Pensioners, in the state, Comrade Segun Abatan, told Guardian that they have resolved to pursue the issue aggressively.
His words; ”The state government has been paying them in percentages. That is between 10-30 percent.
”The pensioners on their part has resolved to reject further payments in percentages. Some are being owed their pensions since January 2011”.
“I will only appeal to the government to help settle these arrears. Our people are suffering too much”, he pleaded.