By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Retirees under the aegis of Osun State Contributory Pension Retirees, on Wednesday, protested the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
The senior citizens who shut down the State Secretariat for hours denied both Government officials and workers access into the Secretariat with their cars.
The protest took another twist when the Head of Service, Dr Festus Oyebade Olowogboyega got to the scene and alighted from his vehicle with the sole intention of persuading them but the aggrieved retirees on sighting him started shouting on him.
All efforts by the HoS to pacify the protesters yielded no result as they were shouting, “go, go, we don’t want to hear anything from you. You are all thieves”.
However, Olowogboyega displayed a high level of maturity as he was smiling and still trying to calm them down.
When the security men who were on ground to monitor the situation observed that the pensioners were not ready for any discussion with the HoS, whisked him into Hilux vehicle and drove him away.
The pensioners had earlier protested at Olaiya junction before proceeding to the State secretariat bearing placards with various inscriptions like, “we are dying of hunger”, “Masses, help us we are dying”, “Dead people cannot enjoy infrastructure”, Governor Oyetola, give us our 30 months half salaries” etc. as well as singing different solidarity songs.
They said the state government had refused to pay their 30 months half-salary arrears (2016 till date), non-payment of gratuities (2015 till date) and non-payment of their monthly pensions since 2015.
Their leader, Awodele Abiodun, urged Stakeholders to assist the helpless and some homeless senior citizens to get their entitlements noting that despite their sickness and old age, the state government had neglected them, adding that many of them have died of hunger.
“Some of us find it difficult to even buy drugs and other essentials because our money has not been paid by the state government,” he lamented.