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Aregbesola urges pensioners to stop blackmailing Govt.

By Nofisat Marindoti, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo
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The Government of the State of Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola urged the 2011/2012 forum of pensioners to stop blackmailing the Government with its continued protests.

The 2011/2012 pensioners group are fraction of those who retired from service in 2012 to avoid being part of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

The pensioners had earlier protested against their outstanding pensions and gratuity.

However in a release signed by the state Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, the Government said the retirees have always been paid modulated pensions.

According to the release, "As a government, we categorically state that government has paid workers and pensioner up to date with the modulated structure agreed opon by the government and the labour unions since 2015. Government does not owe any worker or pensioner based on the modulated payment scheme as the pensioners have alleged.

"We wish to put it on record that Aregbesola increased the amount being paid as pension by 500 per cent in 2011. The nonpayment of gratuity is not peculiar to Osun; and the government has shown its readiness to pay the gratuity as soon as the state finances improve.

"It is also on record that this group of pensioners had at one time or the other in the past lied against the Government of the State of Osun; and in specific reference they had alleged that government collected a tranche of the Paris Club refund and diverted it only to have a whole month wait for the actual release of the fund.

"In a civilised environment and without motives other than pension matters, the so-called 2011/2012 pensioners forum would have bury their heads in shame and exercise decorum expected of senior citizens to make unfounded allegations once more.

"Today’s findings have confirm the government’s submission that the 2011/2012 pensioners are politicians and not pensioners. They are in pursuit of political matter. The government’s claim is established with the identification of some opposition card carrying members from a part of the Central Senatorial zone as part of the protesters.

"In contradiction with what happens in some states where as we speak workers are owed 22 months salaries and about 40 months pensions to pensioners, Osun Pensioners are being paid same time with the workers of the state.

"Government wishes to call the attention of the good people of the State of Osun to the fact that the 2011/2012 group of pensioners does not represent the totality of pensioners in the state. Other pensioners in the state have not been acting that suspicious like those calling themselves 2011/2012 set of pensioners.

"It amounts to ingratitude, mischief and politicization of fact to accused Aregbesola of not paying pension and gratuity by anybody.

"The government considers the pensioners as stakeholders in the development of the state, considering their years in service. It will be an unfortunate act if they continue to allow themselves to be used by politicians to disrupt the ongoing progress of the state."