Osun Govt, pensioners exchange words as headmaster commits suicide over 13 months unpaid gratuity

Osun pensioners operating on the platform of 2011/2012 Forum of Retired Public Servants on Wednesday organised a protest over non-payment of their pensions for 13 and-a-half months.

Highlights: The [placard-carrying protesters took off from Ayetoro Junction and marched to the popular Olaiya Junction where they addressed journalists.

Leaders of the pensioners’ group said the protest was fueled by the death rate among their members, especially the death of a retired headmaster in Ejigbo Local Government Area, Lukman Odewole, who recently hanged himself because he was sick and could not take care of himself as well as his wife and a child, who were all sick at the same time.

One of the leaders of pensioners’ group, Yemi Lawal, who blamed the non-payment of 13-and-a-half month pensions by the Osun State Government for Mr Odewole’s case, added that over 2,500 pensioners had died since 2013 because of non-payment of their gratuities and pensions.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene while urging the President not to release further intervention fund to the state government for fear of being diverted.

Reaction: The Commissioner for Information, Adelani Baderinwa, described the group of pensioners as politicians who were in the habit of blackmailing the governor.

He said, “As a government, we categorically state that government has paid workers and pensioner up to date with the modulated structure agreed upon by the government and the labour unions since 2015.

Government does not owe any worker or pensioner based on the modulated payment scheme as the pensioners have alleged.

We wish to put it on record that (Governor Rauf) Aregbesola increased the amount being paid as pension by 500 per cent in 2011. The nonpayment of gratuity is not peculiar to Osun; and the government has shown its readiness to pay the gratuity as soon as the state’s finances improve.

It is on record that this group of pensioners had, at one time or the other in the past, lied against the Government of the State of Osun; and in specific reference they had alleged that government collected a tranche of the Paris Club refund and diverted it, only to have a whole month wait for the actual release of the fund.

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