Pensioners in Ogun state shut down the Governor’s Office in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on Wednesday in protest of the non-payment of an N68 billion ten-year gratuity.
The pensioners, led by the Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN), blocked the Governor’s Office secretariat’s two main gates for over four hours, preventing the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, and other civil servants from entering.
The protesters, who carried placards that read, among other things, “gratuities are on sale to pensioners,” “Governor Dapo Abiodun, honour your father and treat pensioners well,” and “Governor Abiodun Abiodun, we don’t deserve this worst humiliation,” accused the state governor of failing to keep his promises to the pensioners.
Addressing journalists, LOGPAN State Chairman, Sikiru Ayilara, bemoaned the fact that some of them still receive a meager N3,000 monthly pension.
Ayilara referred to the governor’s quarterly payment of N500 million as a “wicked act” that would take 34 years to clear all the gratuities, according to him. He demanded that the policy be reviewed and that N1 billion be voted monthly instead of N500 million being paid quarterly.
According to him, the association had written 13 letters to the governor, requesting an audience with him to discuss their demands, but the governor had remained recalcitrant and unyielding.
He listed a number of their demands, including non-payment of gratuities, late pension payments, non-increment in monthly pensions, and government discrimination against the association’s members.
Ayilara insisted that paying the state government’s pension through the Ministry of Finance rather than the Bureau of Local Government Pensions is illegal.
“We have written 13 letters to the Governor through various channels without response. We had informed all security apparatus in the state: DSS, Commissioner of Police, Commandant of NSCDC, SSA on security matters to the Governor. They all intervened without any positive response from the Governor.”
In response to the pensioners, the SSG, Tokunbo Talabi, urged them to have more patience with the government, saying, “the government is currently going through a difficult period.” He promised that the government would look into the pensioners’ requests.