Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)
Some pensioners in Ogun state have narrated their horrible experiences years after leaving the public service on the state.
The pensioners also expressed concern over the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities by the state government despite retiring since eight years ago.
The pensioners otherwise called afflicted pensioners retired between 2012 and 2013.
Speaking with PLATFORM TIMES, the pensioners accused the government of suffering them with their entitlements years after retiring from the service.
They claimed that the state government has refused to pay their outstanding gratuities deducted despite several negotiations.
The senior citizens who spoke with our reporter lamented that they have been engaging in petty trading so as to survive.
The pensioners numbering about 26 accused the administration of the immediate past governor in the state, Ibukunle Amosun of illegally deducting their gratuities by issuing two circulars.
They explained that since the last administration had issue the circular, the Bureau of Pension in the state has refused to pay them their balance.
The pensioners further complained that the present administration has not been able to come up with lasting solution on how their gratuities allegedly deducted by Amosun will be paid.
One of the afflicted pensioners, Celestina Awojuola appealed to the government to yield to their demands by paying them their entitlements.
Awojuola maintained that there is also a need for the government to review the pension scheme so that they can increase the money they are paying pensioners.
According to her, some elderly pensioners that retired in the past 20 years are still collecting 5,000 monthly.
She added, “Can 5,000 feed them, not to talk of medical treatment and this political officer holders feed on our effort.
“Since I retired, I have been into petty trading, I have been selling Oguro, making pap and beans cake for the men if the civil defence to drink every morning.
“I am doing all these because I don’t want to die young.
“We are appealing to the government to please see us through our predicament. The suffering is too much, they should follow the authority letter.
“When we got our authority letter in 2012, they told us how much they will pay us, but in 2017, the past administration of Amosun’s gave us another authority letter that negate against the one they gave us in 2012.
“They gave us half of what is written in the 2012. The way the state is suffering the pensioners is not good.
“Pensioners are being treated like real fathers in some countries, but such things are not here in this country.
“Although, we are happy that this present government under the leadership of Prince Dapo Abiodun in the state is doing his best to help us through and we appreciate him.”
Another pensioner, Emmanuel Adeegbe appealed to the federal and state government to include the pensioners in their minimum wage negotiation.
Adeegbe expressed displeasure over how pensioner are being shortchange over their legitimate entitlements.
He stressed that the government must be ready to take of its senior citizens and ensure they don’t lack emerging after serving the country for 35 years.
He said, “I think what is expected for any government to do is to see that senior citizen are well taken care of. The issue of pension is not enough in this economy reality of the nation.
“We want government to emulate the outside nations on how they treat their senior citizens.
“We want them to be paying gratuity and pension promptly. The administration of Ibikunle Amosun paid his severance allowance upfront which is not known to law.
“And those of that serve government for 35 years are yet to be paid.
“State pensioners are suffering and the immediate past governor has the gut after serving for eight years to pay his severance upfront without considering we that have put our life on the line for the country.
“Political office holders should know that they are only opportunity to be there because they will still become former.
“There is no benefit for senior citizens in the negotiation of the minimum wage that is ongoing both at the Federal and state government level.”
Also, Deaconess Comfort Oyekan who was above sixty years said, “I retire since December, 2012. Since our retirement by God grace we are happy even though they cheated us, but we know God will collect it for us.
“Since, I retired, I engage in petty trading and I do go to church regularly.”
Alh. Ojebisi Rahman who retired as an assistant chief Registrar in Ogun state court of justice also said, “I thank God, Alhamdulilaih that there is no problem, I am enjoying myself after retirement.
“Our pensions and gratuity have not been paid fully, but we are trying to cope with things.
“We are still fighting for our right and we rely on our creator that our right will be giving to us anytime from now.
“We want the government to pay our gratuities and pensions on time. They should not let the senior citizen suffer.”