Senior citizens who have retired from Osun State Government Service on Tuesday stormed the streets of Osogbo to begin a three day protest over non-payment of their gratuities and pension arrears by the State Government.

The senior citizens, who gathered at the popular Ayetoro Junction, were armed with placards with different inscriptions such as ‘Aregbesola, pay our pensions’, ‘ur members are dying’, ‘over 2000 of our members have died’, ‘stop the avoidable deaths’, ‘Aregbesola, where is our bail out?’, among others.

Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in the state, Ganiyu Salawu, while addressing journalists during the procession, said the government was currently owing them over 18 months pension arrears and gratuities

Salawu lamented that  the non-payment of pension arrears and gratuities had thrown the members into penury, leaving them highly impoverished so much that they could hardly afford daily means, pay their children’s school fees, house rents and other bills.

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He stated that the non-payment of pension arrears and gratuities of his members have resulted in over 2,000 deaths of pensioners in the state, calling for an urgent intervention of political bigwigsin the state.

He accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of shortchanging them, saying that several billions of naira released to the state by the Federal Government in form of bail out, budget support and Paris Club refund for the purpose of upsetting several workers’ arrears in states of the federation were siphoned.

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“It was noted that Governor Aregbesola and the labour unions have perfected how to completely enslave the innocent workers. The level of suffering is alarming and unimaginable.

“The essence of federal allocations is to cater for the welfare of the people for them to live good life, in the contrary, Aregbesola has used money meant to pay salaries and pensions to execute inflated contracts to satisfy his selfish interest.

“It was also very sad that we have dishonourable members in the Osun State House of Assembly, those who could not protect the interests of the people they represent," he said.

He remarked that if they have serious representatives in that parliament, how come the governor incurred that huge debt under their nose, and nothing could be done to prevent such financial recklessness.

“We call on every stakeholder in Osun and the Federal government to come to our rescue and save our members from further death,” he concluded.

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