Scores of pensioners in Osun State have cried out to well-meaning Nigerians to rescue them from the untimely death of their members for not receiving the gratuities and pension arrears.
The senior citizens, who converged at the popular Ayetoro junction, were armed with placards conveying different inscriptions like: “Aregbesola, pay our pensions”, “our members are dying day by day”, “stop the avoidable deaths” and “Aregbesola, where is our bailout” among others.
Addressing journalist after the protest, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state, Prince Ganiyu Salawu, said the government was owing over 18 months pension arrears with huge gratuities.
He accused Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of shortchanging the elderly, claiming that several billions of naira released to the state by the Federal Government as a bailout for the purpose of upsetting several workers’ salary arrears in some states in the federation were syphoned.
According to Salawu, the non-payment of pension arrears and gratuities of his members have resulted in over 2000 deaths of pensioners in the state, calling for an urgent intervention of political stakeholders in the state.
“It is unequivocally clear that Governor Aregbesola and the labour union have perfected how to completely enslave the innocent workers. The level of suffering is alarming and unimaginable.
“The essence of federal allocations is to cater for the welfare of the people for them to live a good life, on the contrary, Aregbesola has used money meant to pay salaries and pensions to execute inflated contracts to satisfy his selfish interest.
“It is also very unfortunate that we have dishonourable members in the Osun State House of Assembly, those who could not protect the interests of the people they represent.
“If truly we have serious representatives in that parliament, how come the governor incurred that huge debt under their nose, and nothing could be done to prevent such financial recklessness.
“We are hereby calling every stakeholder in Osun and the Federal government to come to our rescue and save our members from further death,” he said.
From Saheed Adeyemi, Osogbo.