The Secretary, Local Government/Local Government Education Authority Pensioners in Kwara State, Mr. Saidu Oladimeji, on Thursday, said members of the association have embarked on a fast over unpaid N50bn pension arrears.
He also said no fewer than 1,126 of their members had died since 2014.
He stated that 1,006 members died between 2014 and August 2016 while 120 died between August 2016 and February 2017.
Oladimeji spoke during a media briefing by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Kwara State chapter in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The Chairman, Experienced LG Pensioners, Kwara State, Alhaji Sulu Umar, said the members died not because of old age, natural causes or carelessness but as a result of the hardship they encountered because of their owed pension arrears.
He stated that many of the dead could not pay their medical bills or cater for their daily needs, adding that many of them did not have people capable of sustaining them.
He accused the state government of being responsible for their ordeals.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was concerned with the plight of the pensioners.
He sympathised with the bereaved, saying the death of the pensioners was sad.
He, however, said the state government should not be held responsible for the death of the pensioners.
Akorede said, “It is unfortunate that the retired pensioners have passed away. On behalf of His Excellency, I commiserate with those affected by these unfortunate deaths. But once again, the non-payment of their gratuities and pension is due to the inability of the LG councils in the state to pay them.
“The pensioners are also aware of this problem. It is unfortunate that people have died, and that this problem has happened; the state government had come to the assistance of the LGs to augment their salaries to meet up and pay their workers and pensioners.
“The state government is not responsible for the payment of gratuities and pensions to the LG pensioners. The pensioners are aware of this. They sit in the monthly Joint Accounts and Allocation Committee meeting where monies are appropriated and released.
“While the state government empathises with those pensioners that have passed away, the state government does not accept responsibility for it because it is not responsible for the payment of gratuities and pensions to the LG pensioners and workers.”