Pensioners under the umbrella of the Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN) in Ogun State Wednesday shut down the state secretariat over the non-payment of N68 billion outstanding gratuity.

The pensioners blocked the two main gates of the secretariat, in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital locking out the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, civil servants, and visitors to the secretariat for over four hours.

The protesters, who were armed with placards indicating their anger, had in June staged a warning protest to express their grievances.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the State Chairman of LOGPAN, Sikiru Ayilara, expressed displeasure over the “inhuman treatments” being meted to them by the government under the watch of Governor Dapo Abiodun.

He accused the governor of failing to keep his promises to the pensioners, lamenting that, some of them still earn N3,000 as monthly pension.

Ogun pensioners protesting at the state secretariat. [PHOTO CREDIT: Olasunkanmi Akinlotan]Mr Ayilara described the quarterly payment of N500 million by the governor as unacceptable because, according to him, “it would take 34 years to clear the backlog of the gratuities”.

He listed some of their demands to include: non-payment of gratuities, lateness of pension payment, non-increment in the monthly pensions, and discrimination against the members of the association by the government among others.

Mr Ayilara insisted that it is illegal for the state government to be paying their pension through the Ministry of Finance instead of the Bureau of Local Government Pensions.

Ogun pensioners protesting at the state secretariat. [PHOTO CREDIT: Olasunkanmi Akinlotan]“We have written 13 letters to the governor through various channels without response. We had informed all security apparatus in the state: DSS, Commissioner of police, Commandant of NSCDC, SSA on security matters to the Governor. They all intervened without any positive response from the governor.

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“We had informed all the four paramount rulers in the state with no result. We had held six meetings with the SSG, Chief of Staff, Head of Service, Commissioner for LG and Chieftaincy Affairs, among other notable government officials.

Ogun pensioners protesting at the state secretariat. [PHOTO CREDIT: Olasunkanmi Akinlotan]“Governor Abiodun should honour us: grandfathers and grandmothers, and direct his personal attention to us for us to meet and find a lasting solution to the inhuman treatments being meted to us at our old age, leading to untimely death among us after serving the state for between 10 and 35 years.

“We demand immediate harmonisation of the pensions. We demand regular payment of our pensions as it was.”

In his reaction, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Talabi, appealed to the pensioners to be more patient with the government.

He said: “the government is currently experiencing hard times” adding that “the government will look into the issue very soon.”

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