● Says it’s spent N40bn on pension in 3 years ● Urges retirees not to lend themselves to cheap blackmailers
Osun Government has appealed to protesting pensioners to be a little patient with it, as it was doing everything to review their demands, which was tabled at a meeting about 10 days ago.
Speaking with journalists in Osogbo on Tuesday, the State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, noted that rather than take to the streets, the senior citizens should show understanding and be patient with Government, especially because since it was inaugurated in 2018, it has never defaulted in payment of pensions and gratuities, including those of contributory pensioners, just as it is gradually clearing the backlog it inherited.
Government representatives and leaders of the pensioners had met on Thursday, October 14, where the pensioners, among other things, requested Government to do an upward review of the monthly releases to cater for pensioners in the State.
Both parties agreed at that meeting to reconvene on November 29, to present government position and chart a way forward so as to continue to guarantee industrial peace in the state,
While expressing surprise at the protest, which is coming 34 clear days ahead of the adjourned meeting date, government further urged the pensioners not to lend themselves to cheap blackmailers, who thrive on chaotic situations.
“Since we came in, in 2018, we have paid salaries and pensions as and when due and we are steadily reducing even the arrears we inherited from the previous administration.
“To show commitment, we just devised a strategy to ensure that those under the Contributory Pension Scheme and whose entitlements are from N100,000 to N500, 000, were paid up to December 2020. Also, we have taken on those from N501, 000 to 1millon, N1m to N1.5m and N1.5 to N2m and we are not relenting. In the last two months, we have paid over 300 Contributory Pensioners.
“From 2018 to date, we have expended about N40billion to cater for our senior citizens. This is a demonstration of love and commitment to our senior citizens and we won’t relent. Rather than resort to civil unrest, we appeal to our senior citizens to show understanding and be a little more patient with Government, “ the Commissioner added.