A political pressure group, Ogun Bibire Unity Forum, has berated the Ogun State government over his alleged insensitive attitude towards the plight of the elderly citizens of the state.
A press statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta by its Organizing Secretary, Otunba Oluwatobi Sofela, lamented the ill-treatment the Dapo Abiodun-led government has continually meted out to the senior citizens, who due to age, are now very fragile and vulnerable to such inhuman treatments of constant abuses, exploitations and in some cases outright killings by those expected to protect them.
Sofela admonished Governor Abiodun to always see it as a point of duty to ensure that retirees, who have dutifully and sincerely committed a greater part of their youth in serving the state, are not abandoned in their old age or at their point of need.
Ogun Bibire Unity Forum insisted that senior citizens should be taken care of and their emoluments must be paid promptly to enable them meet up their various responsibilities as parents and grandparents while also enabling them continue to take care of their old age, and not in penury as is always the case in Ogun State.
“The acceptable standard as enshrined in the charter of the World Assembly on Ageing over three decades ago must also be the standard here,” the group said.
Members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in Ogun State, on Thursday embarked on a “one-day special prayer,” against the payment of N68bn gratuities and allowances owed by the state government.
The State Chairman of the Union, Comrade Waheed Oloyede, while addressing journalists shortly after an inter-denominational held at the state secretariat in Abeokuta, said they gathered to pray against all ” unknown power” preventing Governor Dapo Abiodun, from paying them their entitlements in their lifetimes.
“We have written a series of letters, we have sent people that we think can assist, but there is no response and we’ve decided that now we send God to him until the government of Ogun State have a listening hear to us. That is the purpose of this gathering,” Oloyede said.
He explained that it will take a period of 34 years for the state government to offset the N68bn gratuity with the release of paltry N500m quarterly.
Some of the demands of the senior citizens were an increase in the pensioners’ monthly take home; increase in the quarterly release of gratuity from N500m to N1bn; release of deducted contributory pensions to their respective pension fund administrators, as well as the constitution of the Pensions Committee which will administer the affairs of their union.
Oloyede said, “According to the federal government constitution, the pension is supposed to increase every five years or whenever they increase the salary of workers but in Ogun State, it has not been done”.
“They’ve increased the salaries of workers more than four times but up till now, they have not increased the pension in Ogun State and we have sent the circular from the federal government because the increase in pension send by the federal government was as a result of National minimum wage, and the National minimum wage was above for the workers of Ogun State. In November 2020 up till now, the pension has not been increased”.
“But at the meeting we had with representative of the state government last week Wednesday, they promised that it will be increased and that we should give them till the end of May 2022 and that is why we are doing this gathering”.
“So we are calling on them that if they don’t then the Pensioners Fund Administrator (PFA) will not be able to pay them when they go. Therefore, we appeal that they should do something.”