By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
Contrary to the claim of some pensioners in Osun state, a group of pensioners has debunked the claims of some of them that they have not been paid in the last 15 months.
The pensioners, who addressed the pressmen on Wednesday in Osogbo under the aegis of Triangular Group of Pensioners, affirmed that the claims of those who accused the state government of not paying them is unfounded, falsehood and far from the truth and charged the members of the public to disregard them.
They dissociated themselves from some of the 2011/2012 pensioners who alleged that the government was owing them pension and gratuity.
Led by Prince Rotimi Adelugba, Chairman, Triangular Group of Pensioners, said those behind the falsehood are allegedly conspiring to destroy the peace of the state and the same time working in favour of the main opposition of the state.
The pensioners said Governor Gboyega Oyetola is forthcoming in the payment of their pension and gratuity, saying they received their pension as at well due.
According to the pensioners, Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration has been paying their pensions and other wages in full every month.
They however refuted the claim of the protesting pensioners that the government had received and diverted the 4th tranche of the Paris Club Refund, describing it as far from the truth.
According to the pensioners “Since the current administration assumed office over six months ago, it has ensured full payment of our monthly pension and wages to all levels as at when due in line with its promise, and subject to the release of allocations from the Federal Government.
“The state government is very much committed to the payment of pension and gratuity of retired workers in the state civil service, and the Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration is not nonchalant to the plight and welfare of the senior citizens of the state.
“Some of our colleagues have collected their bonds, contrary to the claim of this set of pensioners.”
It would be recalled that group of pensioners (2011/2012) had had on Tuesday and Wednesday trooped the streets of Osogbo to protest the non payment of their pension arrears and gratuity.
They also accused Governor Oyetola of diversion of 6.3 billion naira Paris Club Refund meant to settle their arrears and gratuity.
However, the state government described the allegation as baseless and unfounded, saying there is no way such a fund would be released to the state without making it known to the public.
Mr Adeniyi Adesina , Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oyetola in a statement said, ” it’s absolute falsehood, it is shocking that elderly people of that ages could go to town base on falsehood, and failed to get their facts right before started making wild allegations that are unfounded.
“To set the record straight, the state has not been given any Paris refund, such funds would be publicly announced if given to any state. That is why I said it is shocking, even to the governor, that people who are elders could go to town base on false claim.
“Before the governor came into office, he promised that he would be transparent; he said that he would run a transparent government, and he has not reneged that promise”, Adesina said.
He said Governor Oyetola is sensitive to the plight of workers and pensioners.
It would be recalled that the state government had in February 2018 specially paid pensions and gratuity to a total number of 2006 pensioners who retired from Ministries, Departments, Agencies and parastatals service in 2011/2012 when the government released a sum of N1.2bn for such purpose.
The Head of Service, Dr Oyebade Olowogboyega presented cheques containing different amount of money to the pensioners.
According to Olowogboyega, of the N1.2bn, a sum of N200m was used to paid gratuity while additional N200million was added in March 2018 for the payment of gratuity as well, making the total sum N400m for gratuity payment.
Also in May last year, a total sum of N200m was released for the payment of gratuities to retired officers on old pension scheme and another sum of N100million for the payment of contributory pensioners totaling 720.
In the same May 2018, the government released a sum of N1.8bn bond to the retired workers under the Contributory Pension Scheme in the state, in which 171 retired officers and 39 retired workers from the local government received their bond certificates totaling N1.6bn and N200m respectively.