Following THE PUNCH Newspaper’s report where it was said that the Osun state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa referred to a group of pensioners in the state, Forum of 2011/2012 masterminds of ‘Public Nuisance’, Mr Baderinwa has refuted the report saying at no time did he call the protesting pensioners such name.
Mr Baderinwa said that he did not at any time threaten to arrest the pensioners whenever they go out to demand for their entitlements as circulated on social media platforms.
He noted that only what he said was just to tell the senior citizens that their protests were “unbecoming” and was suspicious of being “sponsored by the opposition” as government has done a lot in investing a substantial amount of money accruing to the state coffers to addressing their plight.
In a statement in Osogbo on Monday, Baderinwa stated that the purpose and meaning of the statement was mis-contrued by the reporter as such was just to attract people’s attention.
The statement said “The attention of the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the State of Osun, Mr Adelani Baderinwa has been called to a report by Punch Newspaper where it was said that the commissioner called a fraction of the 2011/2012 group of pensioners PUBLIC NUISANCE for their incessant protest on the payment of pension and gratuity.
“We wish to say that the commissioner did not call and would never call the 2011/2012 group of pensioners PUBLIC NUISANCE, no matter what their action could be. The commissioner did not also threaten the protesting pensioners with arrest as being circulated on the social media.
“To set the record straight, what the commissioner respectively said in reaction to the incessant protest of the 2011/2012 group of pensioners was that their actions are unbecoming of senior citizens, particularly when it was obvious that their protests are being sponsored by opposition.”
The commissioner also said “It is disturbing and unfortunate that the acclaimed 2011/2012 retires have chosen to be blackmailing the Government of the State of Osun, and disturbing peace loving citizens through sponsored protest on the payment of gratuity and not pension. It is crystal clear that the so called 2011/2012 pensioner group are obvious liars with their incessant political protests, and unbecoming of a retire civil servant who ought to be placed and respected as a senior citizen.”
While Baderinwa held his opinion about the conduct of the 2011/2012 fraction of the pensioners, the commissioner affirmed that the earlier statement was not to disrespect the senior citizens, but to make government’s position known to them.
He however assured that the Osun State Government will strive to ensure the payment of the remaining part of the pension arrears as agreed by both parties earlier in 2015.
“May we state that the commissioner was addressing the conduct of the fraction of 2011/2012 group of pensioners and not the person of the pensioners. Most importantly, the commissioner was not addressing the generality of the pension as the mischief makers are circulating, but a very minute fraction of the 2011/2012 group of pensioners.
“We respect the senior citizens as elderly people and contributors to the state development through their services in the public sector and as such would never be disrespectful to them or use uncomplimentary foul languages in addressing them. The Punch headline, we believed it was casted to be controversial just to attract the attention of the readers and generate issues as it is happening.”