Again, scores of local government pensioners in Ogun State on Thursday shut down the state secretariat in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta while protesting the alleged non-payment of their 10-year outstanding gratuities.
The pensioners, under the auspices of Local Government Pensioners’ Association of Nigeria, had in September blocked the two main gates of the secretariat in protest.
The pensioners had also in June staged a similar protest to express their grievances.
On Thursday, the retirees took to the streets once again to demand an audience with the state governor, Dapo Abiodun.
The aggrieved pensioners, who stormed the state secretariat around 9am, met stiff resistance from security operatives, in an attempt to shut the two gates leading into the seat of power.
There was a struggle between the retirees and security personnel who made frantic efforts to stop the protesters from shutting down the exit points.
The angry retirees, however, overwhelmed the security men and locked up the gates.
For about 30 minutes, the retirees took over the gates and prevented people from entering or leaving the state secretariat.
The pensioners condemned the state government’s decision to pay N500m outstanding gratuity for the next 34 years, describing it as wicked and inhuman.
The state chairman of the association, Sikiru Ayilara, described the recent payment of gratuities by the state Ministry of Finance as fraudulent and illegal.
Ayilara said the pensioners decided to embark on the protest to draw government’s attention to their plight.
He noted that although the present administration has made some efforts to address their plight, including the quarterly release of N500m, but that the pensioners are eager to meet with the governor, as there are still issues to resolve, including increase in monthly pension.
The state Head of Service, Dr. Nafiu Aigoro, told the protesters that the government would ensure a comfortable post-retirement life for its pensioners, irrespective of the challenges they currently face.
“This government will always prioritise welfare of pensioners and ensure regular payment of their pensions despite the dwindling financial situation being witnessed in the state and the country at large,” Aigoro said.
On the pensioners request to meet with the governor, he promised to arrange the meeting within the next couple of weeks.