Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Kwara State Government has said a total sum of N11billion is currently being owed as gratuities to the state pensioners from previous years, just as the concerned pensioners in the state have said about 500 people have lost their lives due to non-payment of gratuity in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the State Pension Board, Alhaji Boni Shuaib, disclosed this in Ilorin yesterday while receiving in audience the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulrasaq, in his office in Ilorin, the state capital.
He stated that the board was getting N150million monthly which abruptly stopped long ago until the governor came in last May to restore the gratuities by paying N100 million monthly which has been regular.
While commending the governor for bringing support and joy to senior citizens in the state following his timely payments of their entitlements since he assumed office in May last year, Shuaib said: “Pensioners in the state are praying for you because you have brought great joy to them and their families.
“Your timely release of their money has led to up-to-date payment of state pension. We have also started clearing gratuities from March 2014 where the former government stopped. This is a great thing and we are very grateful to you.”
He, however, urged the governor to consider enrolling Kwara State in the contributory pension scheme (CPS) to lessen the burden of debt.
Meanwhile, the concerned pensioners in the state have raised an alarm over the death of over 500 pensioners due to nonpayment of their benefits in the past seven years in the state.
The pensioners, however, appealed to the state governor to come to their aid in order to bring new lease of life to them and their entire families.
The state Chairman of pensioners, Mr. Abayomi Ajibola, stated this in Ilorin while speaking with journalists shortly after staging a peaceful protest at the Government House in Ilorin to intimate the governor on their plights in the past few years as well as the need to bail them out of their predicaments.
The pensioners, who carried various placards with different inscriptions like ‘We have lost of over 500 members since 2008’; ‘Treat pensioners with dignity’; ‘We are real old people, pay us our dues’; ‘We cannot fulfill our roles as families at home’; among others, said: “It is disheartening that we had served our state meritoriously for 35 years without being paid our gratuity.”
Ajibola, who accused the past governments of neglecting pensioners stated that: “Instead of being celebrated, we are being traumatised, oppressed and abandoned as used rags.”
While appealing to the state governor to come to their aid, the chairman said his urgent attention would go a long way to bring life back to their families.