Retirees in Osun state on Thursday disturbed vehicular movements for about an hour in Osogbo, the state capital to protest against the refusal of Governor Rauf Aregbesola to pay their gratuity and pension arrears.
The retirees who explained the agony they have been passing through said “we have no option than to go out on street again to press for our demands.”
The pensioners who were chanting various anti government songs lamented that they have written series of letters of appeal and held meetings with well meaning people of Osun state over Aregbesola’s refusal to pay them yet nothing came out of it.
They were armed with different placards of different inscriptions like “President Buhari, come to our rescue, Aregbesola is a thief” , Where is the Paris Club deductions, Aregbesola! others say” “we are tired of tyranny”, “Osun pensioners are dying” and many others.
Addressing journalists during the protest which was held at the popular Olaiya junction, the chairman , forum of 2011/2012 retirees, comrade Omoniyi Ilesanmi said Aregbesola has failed to pay their gratuity from 2008-2012 and twelve months pension arrears.
Ilesanmi who narrated the dilemma caused by the nonpayment of their entitlement by the government said that over 2000 pensioners have died while many are on their sick bed.
According to him, “the untimely and avoidable death continue unabated, over 2000 pensioners have died, many are on their sick bed, many are married to their wheel chairs till God knows when, our children are out of school because their retired parents cannot maintain them.
“Many retirees are living in dilapidated buildings like lunatics, our creditors are making life very difficult for us thinking that we have been paid but we do not want to offset our debts. We have no option than to out on street again to press for our demands which is the prompt payment of our statutory entitlements from the recently released Paris Club Refund.”
He alleged the governor to have embezzled over N16bn out of the N34bn accruing to the state from the Paris Club over deductions.
Ilesanmi questioned why the people of the state remained silent saying ” for how long will you keep mute for Aregbesola, the Omolangidi of Lagos to totally destroy this state”, “do you want the labour of our past heroes to be in vain”?
According to him, “whenever any money is released to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola by the Federal Government to make life bearable for the workers, pensioners and by extension, the good citizens of Osun State, he will have one reason or the other to divert it without observing the conditions attached to such fund. What an impunity?
He said the second tranche has been released alleging that Aregbesola is planning to divert it to another project which he described as “unprofitable white elephant projects”.
He then called on the people of Osun state to wake up from their slumber saying “if you continue to keep quiet posterity will never forgive you both old and young”.
Packaged by Bunmi Oladejo