In a commendable display of commitment to the welfare of retirees, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State has garnered the support of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in his endeavor to alleviate the financial burden faced by pensioners. Since assuming office in November 2022, Adeleke has made it a priority to address the longstanding issue of the state’s pension debt, which amounts to approximately N172 billion.
Dele Aina, the state secretary of the union, expressed confidence in Adeleke’s pledge to settle the outstanding pension obligations, emphasizing that this action is vital for maintaining peace and harmony within the state. The pension debt encompasses various components, including contributory pensions, the half salary of old pensioners, and the implementation of an N18,000 minimum wage.
Notably, the pension arrears can be traced back to the previous administration led by former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, whose unfinished business was passed on to his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola. The failure of the Oyetola government to address these pension obligations resulted in a dispute between the state and its retired employees.
Aina, speaking with our correspondent, highlighted the assurances made by Governor Adeleke during his election campaign, vowing to settle the debt promptly. The NUP representative emphasized the need for open dialogue between the government and the pensioners, suggesting that a roundtable discussion be convened to determine the best approach for repayment. Stressing the importance of collaboration, Aina underscored that it is the duty of pensioners to support the current administration and find a mutually beneficial solution.
“The outstanding amount of approximately N172 billion encompasses pensions owed to 2011/2022 pensioners, old gratuity, implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage, and the half salary owed to old pensioners,” Aina revealed. While acknowledging the initial steps taken by Governor Adeleke to address the issue, Aina stressed that further action is required to fully resolve the pension debt.
Governor Adeleke’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of pensioners in Osun State is seen as a positive step toward honoring the state’s financial obligations. As pensioners eagerly await the fulfillment of the governor’s promises, they remain hopeful that the arrears will be cleared expeditiously, alleviating their financial strain and fostering a harmonious relationship between the retirees and the state government.