Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
AsÂ unpaidÂ workersâ€™ salariesÂ began to bite harder in Ekiti State, seven local government pensioners were reported to have died inÂ the state in the last two weeks over hardship allegedly unleashed on them by non-payment of their monthly pensions and gratuities.
TheÂ pensioners at their monthly meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Monday, urged Governor Ayo Fayose, to pay their eight month arrears of pension.
Those that died included, Mr. J.O. Ojo, Mr. Adedayo Ojo, Mrs. Modupe Aribisala, Mr. Abegunde, Mr. Ogunleye, Mrs. Adelugba and Alhaji Abdullahi.
They also urged the governor to pay them their gratuities which had
not been paid in the lastÂ five years , regretting that the situation had inflicted untold suffering on them.
Acting under the aegis of Concerned Local Government Pensionersâ€™ Forum, they expressed shock over the spate of deaths of retirees who
lacked the money to take care of themselves over non-payment of their entitlements.
A communiquÃ© issued at the end of the meeting signed by the Forumâ€™s
Coordinator, Alhaji Quadri Oguntuase, and Secretary, Mr. Biodun Agboola, urged the state government to accord the pensionersâ€™ welfare utmost priority.
The Forum reminded the state government that council pensioners have only been paid up till February 2017 â€œcontrary to the state
governmentâ€™s pronouncement in the media.â€
Speaking with reporters at the end of the meeting, the LG Pensionersâ€™
boss, Oguntuase, expressed dismay with the condition of the
retirees whom he said served diligently in the prime of their life
only to be dumped to poverty and hardship in their later years.
Oguntuase said: â€œThe situation has become unbearable for us and we
have no option that to cry aloud for the world to know that we,
pensioners are suffering in Ekiti.
â€œThe rate at which we are dying is alarming and imagine the harvest of deaths in the last two weeks. Seven of our members died within the
period and the situation was caused by non-payment of our benefits.
â€œBecause our monthly pensions are not paid, many of us lack money to
eat and to take care of our families. The denial of our rights has made many of us to become irresponsible fathers and husbands at homeâ€.