Pensioners from seven local government areas in Ekiti State have reportedly died within the last two weeks over hardship allegedly unleashed on them by non-payment of their monthly pensions and gratuities.
The council pensioners at their monthly meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on Monday, urged Governor Ayo Fayose, to pay their eight-month arrears of pension.
They also urged the governor to pay them their gratuities which had not been paid in the last five years regretting that the situation had inflicted untold suffering on them.
Acting under the aegis of Concerned Local Government Pensioners’ Forum, they expressed shock over the spate of deaths of retirees who lack the money to take care of themselves over non-payment of their entitlements.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting signed by the Forum’s Protem Coordinator, Alhaji Quadri Oguntuase and Secretary, Mr. Biodun Agboola, they urged the state government to accord the pensioners’ welfare utmost priority.
The seven who died in the last two weeks, according to the communiqué, are Mr. J.O. Ojo, Mr. Adedayo Ojo, Mrs. Modupe Aribisala, Mr. Abegunde, Mr. Ogunleye, Mrs. Adelugba and Alhaji Abdullahi.
The retirees observed a minute’s silence in honour of seven of them who were part of last month’s meeting but died in the last two weeks.
The Forum reminded the state government that council pensioners have only been paid up till February 2017 “contrary to the state government’s pronouncement in the media.”
Speaking with reporters at the end of the meeting, the LG Pensioners’ Forum boss, Oguntuase, expressed dismay with the condition of the retirees whom he said served diligently in the prime of their life only to be dumped to poverty and hardship in their later years.
Oguntuase said: “The situation has become unbearable for us and we have no option than to cry aloud for the world to know that we, pensioners are suffering in Ekiti.
“The rate at which we are dying is alarming and imagine the harvest of deaths in the last two weeks. Seven of our members died within the period and the situation was caused by non-payment of our benefits.
“Because our monthly pensions are not paid, many of us lack money to eat and to take care of our families. The denial of our rights has made many of us to become irresponsible fathers and husbands at home.
“In fact, many of those who died had no money to buy drugs to manage their ailments or to take themselves to hospitals. Things are as bad as that and we want the state government to look for ways to pay us our pensions and gratuities.
“We believe it is not an offence to diligently serve our fatherland; government should not watch while we suffer because our entitlements are our rights that we should not be denied of.”
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