ABEOKUTA – Pensioners in Ogun State, on Tuesday, stormed major streets of Abeokuta, the state capital, to stage a peaceful protest against the non-implementation of the consequential adjustment in their monthly pay by Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration in the State.
The protesters, who as early as 7:30am, converged at their State Secretariat located along the Abiola Way, Abeokuta, from where they marched to the Governor’s Office at the State Secretariat Complex, Oke-Mosan, carried placards bearing different inscriptions to drive home their points and chanting various Labour songs to draw attention of members of the public to their plight in the state.
The senior citizens, under the umbrella of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ogun State chapter, expressly declared that Governor Abiodun should forget their votes for his re-election for second term in 2023, should he fail at effecting the consequential adjustments of their monthly take-home pay, which they said is the about of N5,000 since the past 15 years.
The pensioners specifically accused the Abiodun-led administration of reneging on his promises at off-setting the backlog of gratuity arrears, spanning a period of 12 years, as well as frustrating efforts of the Pensioners Review Committee inaugurated on July 19, 2022 for the purpose of evolving a workable solution to the statutory consequential pension adjustments in the state.
Some of their placards read: “Abiodun, pensioners are not slaves, hence, they deserve better treatment”; “stop paying lip services to the rights and plights of the senior citizens in the state”; “assist to reduce the increasing death rates among the senior citizens by paying all our entitlements”; “address the unpaid arrears of 12-years gratuity”, among others.
Speaking with journalists at the NNPC Abeokuta Mega Station where they had a stop-over, the NUP state chairman, Comrade (Chief) Waidi Oloyede, said his union has observed with disgust, the insensitivity of the state governor to their plight.
“Since it is realized that there is a calculated delay by government to further frustrate the senior citizens towards the cemetery as many deaths occur on daily basis for lack of economic salvation of the aged, we have, therefore, decided to resume the protest today Tuesday 27th of September, 2022.
“This protest is meant to appeal to all well-meaning citizens of Ogun State to prevail on Prince Dapo Abiodun to redeem all his promises on the basis of equity, justice and fairness to the ageing pensioners, who now face varying health and psycho-social ageing challenges.
“He should be reminded that our entitlements are only enjoyable in the land of the living. He should please reduce the sharp incidences of daily occurrences of death of pensioners witnessed in recent times in the state,” he said.
The protesting pensioners eventually terminated their peaceful protest at the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan, where they were received by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, who empathized with them and promised to relay their message to the State governor whenever he returns from an official assignment outside the country.