PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE TRIANGULAR GROUP OF PENSIONERS, STATE OF OSUN CHAPTER ON THE DEMONSTRATION EMBARKED UPON BY THE :2011/2012 FORUM OF RETIRED PUBLIC SERVANTS IN OSOGBO RECENTLY.
STOP USING PENSION, GRATUITY MATTERS FOR POLITICAL GAINS
Gentlemen of the Press
Ladies and Gentleman
On behalf of the entire members of The Triangular Group of Pensioners, State of Osun Chapter, I am happy to welcome you to this press conference. The conference became necessary in order to let the general public know the position of our Group on the demonstration and the phantom lies peddled by the Omoniyi Ilesami’s led 2011/2012 Forum of Retirees.
Permit me to make clear that The Triangular Group of Pensioners are bona fide members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, State of Osun who strongly believe in peace, dialogue and the welfare of pensioners in the state and have been doing everything within the law to make sure that pensioner’s welfare and interest is jealously guided.
It is therefore very sad to wake up in the early hours of 29th, 30th of June to see a faction of retirees who took to the streets to demand for payment of pension arrears and gratuities. While we believe in the right to peaceful demonstration and unbiased demands from government, we equally condemned in its entirely the demonstration. We therefore disassociate our Group from from the unwarranted demonstration which we believe is ill-planned, politically motivated and a bid to execute the minds of some politicians. Our Group wondered why the demonstration now that the bye election of Osun West Senatorial District election is near. Instead of engaging in dialogue with government on issues bothering their minds as to how their benefits would be paid, they resulted in militant approach known to be orchestrated by opposition; telling lies and character assassination capable of destabilizing the peace of the state.
On the part of Government, we wish to state that it has been sincere in explaining to the public and who cares the position of finances of the state in relation to payment of salary and pension coupled with the gratuities. The reason why it resulted in scheduled payments in line with the Memorandum of Understanding/ Agreement signed by both government and Labour of which NUP is not left out.
Permit me to explain why there is backlog of unpaid gratuities. Col Leo Segun Ajiborisha, left a substantial amount in the gratuity account but when Late Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was governor, the fund was used to print documents and since then up to 2010, when this government came onboard it paid substantial amount of the backlog of gratuities up to 2014 when the paucity of fund set in.
The second tranche of the Paris fund which Omoniyi Ilesami’s group alleged to have been diverted, we have thoroughly investigated these allegations only to find out that the fund is yet to be released. This was corroborated by the Hon Minister of Finance who said last week that that fund after necessary steps would be released soon. We wondered where Mr. Ilesanmi and his people got their own information from. It is therefore inhuman, disheartening and uncivilised to note that despite all efforts put in place and the assurance capable of giving hope to retirees, they embarked on character assassination, lies telling. The Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola had said it severally that the salary and pension arrears would be paid as soon as fund is available. Government has been sincere with the welfare of pensioners by ensuring that they were not left out of monthly payment of pension.
As part of our efforts, we have gotten the assurance that when Paris Fund arrives pensioners will not be left out. Also we have gotten approval in principal minimum pension of N10,000.00 monthly for pensioners whose monthly pension is not up to that. Up till now, all pensioners have collected their pension up to May, 2017 in line with the approved schedules.
We believe that diversion of fund that is not not received and its possible finance of projects that are already been financed through loans and bonds as alleged by Ilesanmi who have been agitating the stoppage of projects to pave way for salary and pension payment.
We as members of the Triangular Group of Pensioners are worried at the growing tendencies where some of the pensioners in the state make themselves ready tools in the hands of politicians to seek to blackmail the government of the day at the slightest opportunity of a political process.
A situation where pensioners pursue their claims and agenda with active participation of well known political opponents of the current administration is condemnable.
The whole world is aware that the former Head of Service, Mr. Olusegun Akinwusi, is a known and avowed opponent of the government having contested governorship election and lost but has left nothing undone to fight the current government through his associations with all known political groups that are against this government.
And for the avoidance of doubt, information at our disposal show that Mr. Akinwusi was paid all his entitlements even before he exited service. The claims that he is getting half of his pension is baseless because he is no different from the other pensioners who are subject to the 50%/75%/100% payment formula for both pensioners and active workers of the state according to an agreement reached with us.
We therefore appeal to well-intentioned and respected leaders of thought in the society to advise our colleague pensioners not to jeopardise our situation with their growing political colourations of our genuine demands from the state government.
www.sojworld.com (c) July 3, 2017