Unpaid gratuity capable of discouraging patriotism, says Pensioners Chairman, Sikiru Ayilara

Unpaid gratuity capable of discouraging patriotism, says Pensioners Chairman, Sikiru Ayilara

Governors across the 36 states of Nigeria have been charged to see payment of gratuity as the best motivating factor for patriotism.

Chief Sikiru Ayilara, the Chairman of Local Government Pensioners Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Branch, speaking at the 2021 Pensioners Day held at the Association’s secretariat behind Ita-Osin Motor Park, Abeokuta, stated that refusal on the part of any governments to pay gratuity as at when due is capable of discouraging patriotism.

“Failure on the part of any governments at all levels to take proper care of retirees is a bad signal to the serving civil servants; it is capable of discouraging patriotism and encouraging taking undue advantage of public fund”.

Chief Ayilara reiterated the frustrating conditions of Ogun State Local Governments’ Pensioners in the last three years.

It saddens, facing the reality at eleventh hour of our lives that Gov Dapo Abiodun in whom we nurtured brighter hope of receiving the fruitage of our hard labour has resolved to treat us as ‘used and dumped’.

“With our terribly precarious conditions; unable to afford square meal, lacking life-saving medical, dying as chickens after 35 years of patriotic service to Ogun State, Gov Dapo Abiodun wouldn’t see reason to listen to our plights at least for once. What a faceless Governor!

Incumbent PS, Mrs Olubukunola Adeniregun, former PS Oba H.R. Tayo and the LOGPAN Chairman, Chief Sikiru Ayilara commissioning the Pensioners Street

“You will all recall that it was His Excellency’s brazen refusal to respond to our thirteen (13) letters of APPEAL that prompted us to stage three (3) protests consecutively; of the third protest where the newly appointed Head of Service promised that within two weeks, he would make sure the Governor meet with us to find a lasting solution which as we speak has become another prank.

“The truth is, in the last two and half years, Gov Abiodun has been giving flimsy excuse; insufficient funds to clear the ₦68bn. Gentlemen of the Press, you may recall that, early this year, His Excellency began payment of ₦500m every four months, a schedule that will take thirty-four (34) years to pay off the ₦68bn (ten years outstanding gratuity up to 2019). What about the outstanding ₦20bn of those who have retired between June 2019 and December 2021?

“Whereas, Gov Zulum of Borno State, in spite of the incessant insurgencies in the state, was able to source for sufficient fund to pay ₦12bn outstanding Gratuity in one day.

“Gov Seyi Makinde received an Award recently through his Commissioner of Information being a friend of Pensioners for his sincerity of purpose towards payment of gratuity. Of recent, Makinde paid ₦8bn outstanding Gratuity in a day; a State with low IGR compared to Ogun State of Prince Dapọ Abiodun.

“Gov Oyetola has paid over ₦40bn within the last three years, in addition to the lastest ₦708m to 300 retirees.

“Gov Sanwo-Olu who makes sure Pensioners get deserved priority has paid ₦32.8bn Gratuity for 8,170 retirees in two years.

“After all, former Governor Gbenga Daniel paid all outstanding gratuity in one day.

“Gov Abiodun should know that refusing to pay Pensioners their Gratuities is a subtle way of telling the Pensioners to take their Gratuities in the grave.

“Gentlemen of the Press, we are saying categorically that Gov Abiodun hasn’t been doing us any favor by the release of half a billion naira (₦500m) quarterly as part-payment of outstanding Gratuity been secretly paid to unknown persons as members of Local Govt Pensioners Association, Ogun State.

At this juncture, we are begging all the Lovers of the Aged in Ogun State, Nigeria by extension, to please talk to Gov Dapo Abiodun in the language he understands so that the Local Govt Pensioners wouldn’t toil for 35 years in vain.

“Among others, our requests remain as follows;

“1. Immediate harmonization of monthly pension from ₦5,000 to at least ₦80,000 or how would Mr Governor expects Pensioners who have worked for between ten and thirty-five years to continue receiving ₦5,000 as monthly pension in a State that pays ₦30,500 as minimum wage!

“2. Re-scheduling of outstanding Gratuity payment from ₦500m every four months to at least ₦2bn monthly, so that Dapo Abiodun led administration can earn a good reputation for clearing the ₦68bn in three years.

“And thirdly, Gov Abiodun should restore the principal responsibility of Bureau of Local Govt Pension by directing the Ministry of Finance to handoff from doing the payment of Gratuity.

“Gentlemen of the Press, for whatever reasons, it’s a sin against God and humanity that His Excellency has refused to meet with us.

“Gov Abiodun’s non-clearing of our Gratuities is even a dishonour to all fathers and mothers, particularly his own father who appealed to him at the point of death to cater for the aged.

“Meanwhile, according to a Holy Book, whoever dishonor the aged should not expect Divine favour.

“Conclusively, my fellow Pensioners, I want to implore everyone of you not to lose hope but to continue looking upon the good Lord who will without fail provide for our needs adequately and take revenge against our oppressors.

Whereas, the Permanent Secretary to the Bureau of Local Government Pensions, Ogun State, Mrs Olubukunola Adeniregun commended the pensioners for their loyalty to the State Government, however urged them to exercise more understanding with the Prince Dapo Abiodun led government in order to make it easier  to clear the outstanding gratuity.

The highlight of the event was the commissioning of the Pensioners Street by the incumbent PS Mrs. Olubukunola Adeniregun, and a former PS who now is the OSELU of Okeselu land, Oba H.R. Tayo.