Femi Makinde, Osogbo

Scores of retirees from the Osun State Civil Service on Wednesday protested against non-payment of their gratuities and the payment of half pensions by the state government.

The retirees, who were led by the Chairman, Forum of 2011/2012 Retirees, Omoniyi Ilesanmi, assembled in front of the demolished Fakunle Comprehensive High School, Osogbo, at about 8am, displaying placards.

The placards had various inscriptions such as, ‘Half pensions payment: Height of Rauf Aregbesola’s wickedness,’ ‘Pay our gratuities now,’ and ‘Aregbesola, pay our pension arrears,’ among others.

They marched through Old Garage to Oke Fia and Alekuwodu before they terminated the protest at the take-off point, singing anti-government songs.

They accused labour leaders and top civil servants of conniving with the state government to divert the bailout funds paid to the state by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The chairman of the forum, while speaking to PUNCH Metro, said the retirees decided to protest in order to draw the attention of the public to their plights.

He said, “When we were in the service, we were told that whoever worked for 35 years in the service; his 35 years would be multiplied by two plus 10, making 80 per cent. So, whosoever worked for 35 years  would be paid 80 per cent of their basic salary. Aregbesola has, however, placed us on percentage of 50.

“He is owing us the payment of 10 and half months of pension and gratuities between 2008 and 2012. The half pension he is paying now is not regular, which has led to the death of over 1,500 pensioners.

“We are demanding that all outstanding payments should be made and that he should stop half payment.”

Another leader of the retirees, Mr. Sola Olojede,  said it was unthinkable that the Aregbesola administration could spend N 1.35bn to build just one secondary school and refused to pay workers and pensioners.

Olojede said, “This is the height of wickedness and retirees will not stop fighting for our rights.

The media aide to the governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, could not be reached as his mobile phone rang out.

He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to the phone.

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