Gratuities: Security agents lock out protesting Ogun pensioners

Emotion ran high on Thursday when aged protesting pensioners were locked out of the office of the Governor of Ogun State, in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital.

Looking dejected and depressed, the pensioners under the aegis of Local Government Pensioners Association, as early as 8am, had stormed the state secretariat to protest the alleged refusal of Governor Dapo Abiodun-led government to pay their gratuities.

Armed with placards, the pensioners who gathered around the state secretariat for their demonstration, however, met a brick wall at the second gate of the secretariat leading to the governor’s office, as the security agents hurriedly locked the gate against them.

The State Chairman of Local Government Pensioners Association, Sikiru Ayilara and a handful of the officials were able to beat the security agents and gained entrance.

Ayilara attempted to force the gate open, raining abuses, but the security agents comprising police, NSCDC and private security guards overpowered him.

The development left workers stranded while the government activities were paralysed momentarily.

The pensioners resolved to protest after the three days fasting they declared over the backlog of unpaid gratuity.

They were armed with mats, insisting that they would not leave the governor’s office until their demands are met.

Unfortunately, their target, the governor had travelled to Lagos shortly before their arrival at his office.

Addressing journalists, Ayilara said, “We wanted to stage a peaceful protest. We don’t have a cutlass, not even a stick. We just want to make the people know the treatment being meted to us as pensioners in this state.

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“The suffering we are experiencing from this administration and the previous is too much.”

Ayilara said his members are hurt by the alleged nonchalant attitude of the governor to their demands which include non-payment of gratuities, lateness and non-increment in the monthly pensions.

He also lamented the discrimination against the members by the government.

He, however, accused Abiodun of “playing dangerously with the lives of the members” by refusing to pay their gratuities on time.

The association insisted that the quarterly payment of N500 million by Abiodun, which by calculation would take 34 years to have all the gratuities cleared, is unacceptable.

They called for the review of the policy by voting N1 billion monthly instead of payment of N500m quarterly.

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