Pensioners take protest to Aregbesola to account for Osun funds

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Senior citizens in Osun State under the aegis of ‘Forum of 2011/2012 Retirees,’ agitating non-payment of their pension arrears by the Osun State government, on Friday took their protest to the Minister of Interior, and former Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, demanding him to account how he managed the finances of the state in his eight years in office.

The protesters were said to have assembled at the entrance of the Osun State House of Assembly, a few metres away from the head office of the Nigeria Correctional Service, awaiting the arrival of the former governor. On the arrival of Aregbesola at the Correctional Centre for inauguration, the angry senior citizens protested that their retirement benefits had not been paid since they left the service five years ago. They challenged the Minister to explain what he did with the revenue of the state that he ignored their pension benefits which have accumulated over the years.

They displayed placards with inscriptions: – Since 2016, Contributory Pensioners had been neglected – Paris Club refund of tranches 1, 2, 3 and 4 were misappropriated by Aregbesola administration – Osun people are no mumu, Aregbe we only leave you for Allah to judge – Osun State Government, pay us our benefits; bonds, 2016 up to date, arrears of half salaries for 30 months.

The senior citizens lamented that many of their colleagues had died without being paid their entitlements.

Aregbesola was Governor of Osun State from November 27, 2010, to November 27, 2018. He succeeded Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola who lost his second tenure election in court.

The State Chairman of Contributory Pensioners, Gbenga Oyadare, disclosed that the pensioners resorted to mass protest to publicly exposé the hardship they experience from the inhuman delay and non-payment of their entitlement by the Osun State government

Oyadare was cited to have declared: “The purpose of our coming out this morning is to make it known to the whole world what the immediate past governor in Osun State brought to the state.

“We are waiting to collect our entitlement after we left service about five years ago. Since August 2016 to date, we have not been paid and if salary is not paid for five years, you should imagine what would have happened.

“Our members have not been able to keep their families together. We want the whole world to appeal to Aregbe to come and explain to us how he managed Osun funds for eight years.

“We shouldn’t have taken half salary at all because he was granted N35 billion at that time so he could pay salaries and pensions, but unfortunately, he paid half salary for three years.”

The Osun State government was said to have paid seven months of the 36 months half salary owed the pensioners, while 29 months are outstanding.

The protesters were, however, silent on the incumbent governor of the state who is on his second tenure. Indeed, the incumbent governor is in his sixth year in office while the pensioners are protesting five years of non-payment and embarrassing a former governor of the state.