By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
A group of retirees in Osun State under the aegis of Triangular Group of Pensioners, has dissociated themselves from some of the 2011/2012 pensioners who alleged that the state government was owing them pension and gratuity.
Some pensioners in the state under Forum of 2011/2012 Pensioners group had trouped to the streets of Osogbo, Osun State capital on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the non-payment of 13 months of pension arrears and other outstanding debts owed by the state government.
They also accused Governor Oyetola of diversion of 6.3 billion naira Paris Club Refund meant to settle their arrears and gratuity.
But the triangular pensioners group led by Prince Rotimi Adelugba at a press conference in Osogbo on Wednesday, maintained that the Gboyega Oyetola’s led administration in the state has been forthcoming in the payment of their pension and gratuity in full every month.
Adelugba also 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.
He said, “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.”
However, the state government described the allegation of the protesting pensioners as baseless and unfounded, saying there was no way such an fund would be released to the state without making it know to the public.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oyetola, Mr Adeniyi Adesina 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.