Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Wednesday, distributed N500m to offset the backlog of gratuity and pensions of retirees in the state and local government services.
Abiodun, while carrying out a symbolic presentation of cheques to some retirees at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said the event was a demonstration of his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises to all the workers of the state, particularly the elder statesmen and women.
He explained that the distribution of N500 million to pensioners in the state signalled the commencement of a payment process for all the pensioners.
“I am assuring you that the process for all our pensioners. Though these payments are inherited liabilities from past Government but I am assuring you that the process of paying these gratuities have started and will definitely continue on a quarterly basis”, he said.
Abiodun said that apart from the payment of monetary entitlements, his government was committed to providing other opportunities for the retirees under the state’s social welfare scheme.
“I enjoin our dear elders to take advantage of our administration’s various social intervention programmes. For those of you who are into micro and small businesses, you can key into Oko-Owo Dapo, a micro-credit scheme that provides a window for women to access financial resources. It empowers our people to expand their micro and small businesses.
“In the same vein, in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we have inaugurated the Anchor Borrowers Scheme on Agriculture. Under this scheme, our people, including our pensioners, could turn to agric entrepreneurship as a way of life and living. Under the scheme, participants will be provided with land, which will be cleared for them, improved seedling and other extension services. In addition, off-takers, that is, the Anchors will be sourced for their produce at agreed prices that are known to all at the time of planting, thereby guaranteeing price stability and adequate reward for effort. In fact, CBN will pay stipends to the farmers pending the harvest and sale of their produce”. The governor stated.
While describing the retirees as an embodiment of wisdom and who no responsible government will toy with, Abiodun enjoined them to continue to put forward their contributions and elderly advice at all times.
He, therefore, commended members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ogun State Branch, for their understanding and patience, submitting that their welfare would continue to be a top priority for his government.
The Permanent Secretary, Bureau of State Pension, Mr Olukunle Sodeinde, in his welcome address, said the State government has released the sum of N500m as part payment of outstanding to State and Local Retirees owed by past governments, adding that Gratuity would be paid to those scheduled for January 2014 and part local government retirees of 2011.
Mr Sodeinde also disclosed that the government has approved the reversal of gratuity based on Basic, Rent and Transport (BRT) Allowance paid to some retirees by the last administration as against all applicable allowances, assuring that those who were paid BRT would be paid their balance.
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pension, Ogun State Chapter, Comrade Waheed Oloyede, while calling for the increase of the quarterly release from N500m to N1bn, appreciated the State government for wiping their tears, saying that with the payment, the Governor has fulfilled the promise made to them during his electoral campaign.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Taiwo Abraham, lauded the Governor for putting an end to their suffering of many years, pointing out that with the payment, his administration has demonstrated its commitment to pensioners welfare and has been consistent in paying monthly pensions