‘We Will Continue To Fight For Our Entitlement’ – ABU Pensioners

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) branch has said that it will take necessary actions to ensure that all entitlements of its members are paid.

Alhaji Ibrahim made the statement on Monday shortly after he emerged new chairman of the union in an election held at the ABU main campus, Samaru, Zaria.

In his acceptance speech, Ibrahim said the new executives would continue to fight for the interest of ABU pensioners with the assistance of the national body.

“With the assistance of the national headquarters, we shall ensure that all pensioners’ entitlement is paid on time.

“When we fully assume office, we shall swing into action to ensure that the arrears of 33 per cent are paid without further delay,’’ he assured. The Chairman added:

“May I let you know that what is happening here today is a victory for all ABU pensioners.

“I must not fail to inform you that the forces that are behind the injustice and cheating of ABU pensioners are still fighting very hard not to let go.

“They want to continue oppressing and cheating ABU pensioners forever. I want to assure you that there has never been an election of this type in ABU before now’’.

Newsmen report that before the speech, the election of the new executives was conducted by the Assistant National Secretary of the union, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim-Gazali Announcing the results, Ibrahim-Gazali said the new chairman and his Vice, Mr Samuel Kolade-Joel were elected unopposed He said Mr John Nwachukwu also emerged the Secretary of the union unopposed and the newly elected executives would run the affairs of the body in the next four years.

Ibrahim-Gazali lauded members of the union for their decorum, discipline, maturity which he said culminated in a hitch-free election process. He advised the new executives to exhibit a high sense of responsibility by carrying all members along in their decisions and activities in order to take the union to greater heights.

“I want to plead with you as new EXCO to be fair, just, honest, transparent and respect the constituted authority,’’ he said.

Protesting Retirees And Ritual Killings

ISAAC OLUSESI writes that the opposition elements in the State of Osun, Nigeria is the sinister in-operatively strategizing to stampede the state government into vegetative submission with the effluence of the pensioners’ grievances sped into sheer anarchy and unbridled antagonism twirled in ritual revelry, stemming the current wave of sundry irritations over ritual killings in Osun and other parts of the nation.

 

The news about some pensioners stemming the tide of ritual killings in Nigeria made a provocative but compulsive reading. Meaning that the effluence of their grievances on pension arrears and gratuities has sped into sheer anarchy and unbridled antagonism. That the State of Osun pensioners dispensed ritual killings recently to drive their demands, in the full glare of press publicity reads like some inverted reality. That is their own solution, warts and all. But that is the crux of the matter.

Pity the pensioners. The ritual killings, informed by an ancient wisdom, now grown anachronistic with age and tattered by disuse for indecency and barbarism, were carried out at the government secretariat, Osogbo, state capital, in the broad daylight. The 2011/2012 protesting retirees seized marked white and black goats, logged them against the earth to a hurtful point and made some hosed whispers into the ear of the goats. And in a flash, a fetish matchet irrupted through the animals, with blood gushing out straight down under some spells, that fired insensate hostility to the sensibility of the government.

The savagery, with inflammatory incantations, weird and ludicrous attracted a motley crowd of passers-by and civil servants; it was the retirees’ irrational underpinnings to the continuous scheme of the oppositions to make Osun ungovernable. The crowd, with wide spread righteous indignation sneered at the retirees’ theatre of absurdity and gave them the sobriquet: the ritual annex. There were no mixed emotions; the crowd raved at the protesters as no one at the scene, not even the most cheerful was amused by the retirees’ suicidal servility as no one else was chary in chiding and sending them scurry back home. The crowd was piqued as there was nothing comic about the prisoners’ disposition that rather portends tragic consequences for socially acceptable behavior. The elders ‘terrorism’ rang hollow in the young people, leaving in them a gasping hole with cold chills;  they were horrified and would flinch for a very long time to come like it were some monstrous tales from some banana republics.

But the ritual killings,  a shibboleth though, could be to atone for the duplicity and forensic wrong-headedness of the protesting pensioners who swarmed not infrequently on the government secretariat,  barricaded the gate and laid siege to the mandarins and other civil servants going to work. The spate of the rumpus was to ignite a war of attrition, a show down with the government ferociously to court adulation of the press, but the protesting retirees were not obliged with action. What a soul of evil in the abrasive protesters, to their own discomfiture!

Unmistakably, the wild retirees had stuck out their neck without rational calculations, pounded roughshod on the streets with disdain for Osun government and flexed muscles for attention, the senior citizens show of clownishness. But they never made anybody’s day; rather they were in the business of making more enemies. And placing the grievance against their modus operandi, it is now obvious that what we have on hand in Osun are a fledging rural guerrilla, a bizarre dimension in social convulsion.

The bare-face bravado, the ritual killings opened up untoward vistas to the retirees’ rabid street protests that not only intoxicated them beyond the bonds of reasonability such that their demands earlier thought to be impregnable were made mincemeat by another vicious round of protests that roared its hoary head in a fell swoop and twirled in ritual revelry, a disingenuous alibi for ridding the crest-wave of public sentiments and parrying the barbs of public  sympathy for the retirees’ demands.

The protests, warped and steeped in morbid hatred for Osun government could not be the barometer to gauge the volume of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and status of payment of pensions, gratuities, salary and leave bonus in the state because the pensioners have always acted on the basis of their own uneducated and muzzled assumptions, a bald diagnosis in beer parlour. “The state’s IGR was not up to N1.5bn, yet the pensioners LIED (emphasis mine) that the IGR and PAYE was N9.5bn.” The retirees’ pathological lie, made worst by their odios rituals, had invariably turned them into a gargoyle to hurt the state government and set Osun on edge.

What then looked like mere protests by the retirees soon showed their lethal intent to terrorize Osun governance and administration in the Maitatsine spirit. A decent to fanaticism over money! That the retirees had resolved with noisy street insistence, with embarrassing rituals that the state would not know peace means that the protesters must have quaffed some kind of drugs that emboldened them to dastardly act of ritual killings to make a point against government. The hero of Maitatsine, the anti-Islamic, anti-Christ movement, was Mohammed Marwa, of Marwa village in Cameroun.

Clearly, the protesting 2011/2012 pensioners must have had their psyche bestirred by factors external to them. Car GustarJung, the fabled Swiss psycho-analyst would say that the Osun protesting retirees must be ill. No! They are not. But Jung would insist the retirees are bedeviled by a million tiny demons that nouctionally chase them and remotely control their action in the day akin to when a first-time pregnant woman suddenly realizes she has to undress before the doctor.

The demons are the opposition elements in the Osun Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) desiring in-operatively to take over the state driver’s seat. They are identifiable by their odour, oscillation, orphanage, osmosis, mascara, matador feet shuffle and oddities of a pig, intruding on the Osun opulence living room. The murk tends always to make a joke of good taste of the Rauf Aregbesola government in the state. Proverbially, the hands of the protesting retirees are those of Esau but their menacing street actions are those of Jacob, the opposition PDP. The protesters practically carried out the spirit and letter of the adventures, wishes, whims and caprice of their PDP god-father in Osun. And like orphans, the retirees on the streets are always too glad to be noticed, too anxious to please, too self-full to caution self, too spoon-fed to paddle own canoe, too noisy to do a re-think, and too out-going to look back. They acted the drawers of water and hewers of wood for the god-father because they lack the reach, the clout the muscle and the courage, except the beggarly courage. A descent to servitude!

The PDP god-father knows that the way to the retirees’ ear is through his mouth and has always hosted the pensioners under his roof where they tackle pounded yam with egusi soup and the rump of cow leg, mopped up with cognac to drive the crumbs down the stomach, all in the puny effort to order the pensioners around for protests, to clampdown on the state government. “The sight and sound of free men clamouring to be chained is not an edifying one,” wrote John Simpson in his famous essay, “Watching For The New Dictators” (1972).

And everything after each PDP crumbs, played cheaply to the gallery of the god-father. What an authoritative instance of being masterly by half. The retirees then pushed full steam, switched from protests to protests and acted on the streets more PDPic than Fayose, apparently to be noticed and rewarded with more crumbs from the PDP god-father’s table,  a throw-back accoutrements of the by- gone PDP potentates in the Oke-fia state government house, Osogbo.

The fetid wrinkles of the restive protests on the fore-head of the retirees cannot be beauty lines. The Osun PDP is the sinister, the dictator that rigs up the contraption for the menacing gravitas of the street protests with ritual killings in the state. The 2011/2012 retirees in the PDP hatching asylum had fledged into an untamable hawks and political snipers. They shot at the heart of Osun and laid ambush unpatriotically to disparage the government and infuse deadly fear into Osun people.

To be sure, like Umaru Dikko in asylum the protesting retirees had their loyalty where their mouth is. Dikko was President. Sheu Shagari’s Minister of Works; Chairman, Special Task Force on Rice; and Chairman, Shagan’s Re-election Committee in 1983. But December 31, that year, Dikko woke up to hear martial music and he fled into exile in England from where he gave the new military government of General Mohammed Buhari, a Jihad, corresponding to the notorious escapades of Anini, the underworld kingpin. Or, in the name of what did the retirees steam–roll Osun in the last few weeks, Maitatsine? Rituals? Dikko?  Asked Pavel Litvinour in Das Gesunde Volksenfundem, the Healthy Instinct of People.

There can be no confusion as who really are the pensioners in Osun, and no uncertainty as to who are the steam-rollers, the lackeys who daily throng the corridors of the opposition in the state. Evidently, those who hope for the growth of democracy in Nigeria should get alerted to the steam roller group, too short, very short on the responsibility of senior citizens and too long, very long on the minutiae and antediluvian.

The group, brutally injurious to public interest, ironically thinks its PDP god-father could do things better in Osun. No hope should be pinned on the group that makes the job of governance difficult. Osun people must decide to make the group and other retirees, old and new run through Senior Citizenship Education (SCE) in Psyche Re-orientation and Re-development; Statesmanship and Civic Duties; Current Affairs and Application; Watchdog  Ethics; and Logic of Research, Negotiation, Dialogue and Documentation. The senior citizenship class cannot a place for high school rascals- that should be the hub of the training manifest

Asking the protesting retirees to apologize is otiose; the matter on hand does not need any such big stick, though the retirees’ fetish disposition stands a mere frail against the current climate and sundry irritations over ritual killings in Osun and other parts of Nigeria. Osun people would not roll out red carpet for the fetish retirees neither would the government decorate them with any garland. But the protesters should be forgiven at least to serve the end of social justice. To look away, is to prick the conscience of justice as no action of man is ever sacosanct that time and circumstance cannot render unjust, unwisr and untamable. The wiser-than-thou propensity of the retirees has alienated them from Aregbesola. To criticize him is not to risk the awesome combination of blasphemy and treason; he is not one who coughs and expects the other person to shiver.

“The gratuities of pensioners in Osun are well over N9bn and the state could not afford that now”. To be otherwise is like the retirees wanting Aregbesola to turn chunks of stones into loaves of bread. But the man whose government had travelled the long, bumpy and tortoise road to be, has always embraced utilitarianism, satisfying the greatest yearnings of the greatest number of Osun people by its massively populist development politics, policies and projects in all parts of the state. Not the parochial, selfish interest of a few groups, or any single person in particular.

The retirees in the state should accept that these are times which call for studied perseverance and dedicated vigilance. Globally, the times are really bad, angry man on the street and hungry man at home. In place of the protesting retirees’ wiser panache,  vigilance on government actions to ensure the survival of democracy and increased development of the state by offering constructive suggestions and alternative possibilities will make governance easier. Chaos will not resolve any issue, drawing line in the sand will only compound it. “There is a sleeping cop in all of us. We all can be brutal, we all can be bestial,” warned a graffito written during the 1968 French student revolt.

I have the words of Leotolstoy as food–for-thought for Osun protesters. “I sit on a man’s back choking him, making him carry me; yet I assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all means possible, except getting off his back!

  • OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress, State of Osun.

Stop Blackmailing Osun Government – Osun Pensioners Warn Ilesanmi Group

The Triangular Group of Pensioners in Osun has once again expressed its utmost displeasure on sponsored attack on the governor and state government of Osun by a section of the 2011/2012 pensioners led by Mr. Omoniyi Ilesanmi on what it described as an unwarranted ploy to distract and impede the wheel of progress and development.

This was made known in a press release signed by the Chairman, Prince Rotimi Adelugba, where he affirmed the position of his group on the true state of finances and its resolves to champion the plights and welfare of the pensioners. In his words, “We are not the mouth piece or spokesperson for the government but we are in constant touch with the Osun Government on the financial status of the state, hence we consider it necessary to inform the public”

“As responsible senior citizens, we have been demoralized by the orchestrated media attacks, fabricated and perpetual lies, unguarded utterances and malicious statements made by the Ilesanmi group that the Aregbesola administration paid each political office holder who served between November 2010 and November 2014 the sum N50 million each as severance allowance; that the government refused to pay their gratuities but instead spend the meagre resources of the state on frivolities. These allegations are baseless and unfounded.

“All available evidence shows clearly that the severance allowances given to former Commissioners and Special Advisers were in the range of N 2.8 million – N4million, and these were only paid to those who are statutorily and constitutionally entitled to such payment as gazetted in the State of Osun Public/Political Office Holders and Revised Remuneration Package Law of 2007 which is in consonance with the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act.

“We are greatly disturbed that the Ilesanmi Omoniyi led 2011/2012 pensioners have turned themselves into a dirty weapon of destruction in the hands of the opposition party in the state and have now resorted to cheap blackmail against the government which has continually displayed high level of responsibility towards the welfare of the entire citizenry, civil servants and pensioners, in spite of the paucity of funds which has affected the whole country.

“It is also noteworthy that these supposedly senior citizen had earlier issued a libellous and fraudulent piece where it was alleged that the Aregbesola government diverted the second tranche of Paris Club Refund to the recently concluded Osun West Senatorial election, even when none of the states of the federation had received such. We were vindicated when the second tranche of Paris Club Refund to the State of Osun was eventually released 30 clear days after the Osun West election was concluded. What a contradiction and a show of irresponsibility on the path of the Ilesanmi led 2011/2012 pensioners!

“We are a non-partisan, non-political group. As elders and senior citizens, our immediate concern is on how to join hands with the present administration towards the sustainability and development of our dear state.

“We are happy and satisfied that pensioners were not left out of the first and second tranches of the Paris Club Refund as well as the concessionary loan guaranteed by the CBN, popularly called ‘bailout fund’. We want the whole world to know that in the recent disbursement, Osun pensioners were allocated N791 million out of the N6.3 billion received.

“We appeal to the Ogbeni Aregbesola led administration to continue to offset the pensions and gratuities of our members as and when due, notwithstanding the cheap blackmail by Ilesanmi and his ilk.

“We have observed also that it is the global trend that the use of fossil fuel to power machines and automobiles is gradually coming to an end as more countries are beginning to switch to renewable and sustainable energy. With this, the Nigeria economy which derives her strength majorly from crude oil will be badly affected and stands the risk of atrophying. Therefore, we admonish all strata of government to think outside the box in order to generate income on their own and survive in the fast approaching post crude oil era.

“We shall continue to agitate for the payment of all our outstanding arrears in mature and civilized ways through constant deliberations and consultations devoid of hatred and blackmail, without constituting public nuisance.

“We also implore all other stakeholders, especially the Ilesanmi Omoniyi led faction, not to constitute themselves into a distraction and stumbling block to the government.

Aregbesola Will Never Play Politics With Workers Welfare – Kolapo Alimi

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Kolapo Alimi said that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola will never play politics with workers welfare.

Barrister Kolapo Alimi made this known today while interacting with the management and staff of Odo-Otin Local Government, Okuku.

The Commissioner explained that welfare of the workers is very dear to the present administration in the state saying that it was the economic recession that necessitated the current modulated salary.

Barrister Alimi enjoined workers to continue to support the programmes and policies of government. He prayed for economic recovery as better time awaits the entire workforce in the state

The commissioner reiterated the fact that power and positions are transient hence we should be conscious that we hold whatever post we found ourselves in trust and be of good conduct.

The Executive Secretary of Odo-Otin Local Government, Hon. Samson Oduoye appreciated the visit of the Commissioner to the Council and used the opportunity to itemize some of the projects he had executed which include provision of free eye glasses, renovation of health facilities among others.

The Council Manager of the Council, Mrs Fola Owolola pledged the continuous support of the workers in the Council to the present administration in the state.

N50m Severance Claim By Forum 2011/12 Pensioners Unreasonable – Aregbesola

By Toba Ajisafe 

The State Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has described the allegation of Forum 2011/2012 pensioners that he paid N50 million severance allowance to self and ex-officers as unreasonable.

Aregbesola while reacting to the press conference held on Tuesday by the group’s chairman, Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi, said the group’s claim is outrageous and aimed to incite the people against the government.

The reaction was contained in a statement released by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Sola Fasure on Thursday.

The statement read “The allegation is preposterous in its entirety. It is absolutely unreasonable for anyone to suggest that a state government will give each political office holder a N50 million severance allowance at this period when every available kobo is being mopped to pay salaries and pensions, provide infrastructure and social services and run a modest government.

 

“For the avoidance of doubt, the severance allowance of political office holders has been set in accordance with the State of Osun Public/Political Office Holders and Revised Remuneration Package Law 2007, section 4 (1) and (2) schedule (B) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salary as severance allowance. This recommendation was also taken on advisement from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission which recommends 300 per cent of basic salaries.

The statement reiterated that, the State of Osun law referenced has a proviso of beneficiaries having successfully completed a full term or on pro rata basis, after a minimum of two year period of tenure.

“With the arrangement, only the governor and his deputy are entitled to N6.6 million and N6.3 million respectively.

The statement further explained that the governor returned his cheque to the treasury, having waved his right to earn salary since he assumed office.

“Two principal officers qualified for N4 million each, 15 political office holders received N3 million each, and while 18 others received N2.8 million each. This was over a year government.

The statement also stated “Ilesanmi and his ilk have embarked on a campaign of calumny against the government, hiding under the plight of pensioners, telling barefaced lies, making outrageous claim and inciting the people against the government

“He moves around with a motley crowd and they parade themselves as representing the whole company of dignified and respectable retirees in the state.

“Mr Ilesanmi and his group openly campaigned for the opposition party candidate in the 2014 governorship election in the state, hiding under the cloak of retirees. He used the same platform to openly campaign for the candidate of the same opposition party in the last senatorial election in the state, curiously only in the cities where election held.”

Re: Pensioners Allege Aregbesola Pays Self, Ex-Office Holders N50m Each Severance Allowance! You Can’t Be Serious

We read with dismay a report in The Punch of Wednesday August 16, 2017, in which one of the associations of retirees, the Forum of 2011/2012 Pensioners, led by one Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi falsely alleged that the State Government of Osun paid political office holders who served between November 2010 and November 2014 the sum of N50 million each as severance allowance. 
This allegation is preposterous, malicious and false in its entirety. It is absolutely unreasonable and ludicrous for anyone to suggest that a state government will give each political office holder a N50 million severance allowance at this period when every available kobo is being mopped to pay salaries and pensions, provide infrastructure and social services and run a modest government. It is even totally reckless and irresponsible for any newspaper to have published such bunkum. It is a new low for journalism.
For the avoidance of doubt, the severance allowance of political office holders has been set in accordance with the State of Osun Public/Political Office Holders and Revised Remuneration Package Law 2007, section 4 (1) and (2) schedule (B) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salary as severance allowance. This recommendation was also taken on advisement from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which recommends 300 per cent of basic salaries.
However, the State of Osun law referenced above has a proviso of beneficiaries having successfully completed a full term or on pro rata basis, after a minimum of two year period of tenure.
With this arrangement, only the governor and his deputy are entitled to N6.6 million and N6.3 million respectively. However, the governor returned his cheque to the treasury, having waved his right to earn salary since he assumed office. Two principal officers qualified for N4 million each, 15 political office holders received N3 million each, and while 18 others received N2.8 million each. This was over a year ago.
Governor Aregbesola demonstrated sensitivity to the financial situation in the state when he did not constitute a cabinet for more than two years. When he eventually did, he put ALL political office holders on half salary. How then could he have paid N50 million to each to political office holders as severance allowance?
Mr Ilesanmi and his ilk have embarked on a campaign of calumny against the government, hiding under the plight of pensioners, telling barefaced and egregious lies, making outrageous claim and inciting the people against the government.
He moves around with a motley crowd and they parade themselves as representing the whole company of dignified and respectable retirees in the state.
He has constituted himself into an insidious political opposition, riding on the sentiment of the sympathy and respect the larger society has for retirees and senior citizens.
Mr Ilesanmi and his group openly campaigned for the opposition party candidate in the 2014 governorship election in the state, hiding under the cloak of retirees. He used the same platform to openly campaign for the candidate of the same opposition party in the last senatorial election in the state, curiously only in the cities where election held.
This is an abuse of privilege and he should desist from this less than honourable path. As a private citizen, he is at liberty to join any political party and exercise his freedom of association and political participation as he deems fit. He should however not drag the respectable, decent and cultured Omoluabi retirees into his filthy political waters.
If he has any evidence that the State Government paid any sum beyond what is
quoted above, he should bring it up for the benefit of the public.
It is most regrettable that a national newspaper would willingly lend its platform to be used for propagating falsehood and deception. The hallmark of journalism is investigation. There would be a thousand and one claims as there are claimants, each with his or her own motive and sinister agenda.
It is the professional duty of a newspaper (that clearly impinges on its integrity) to investigate a claim and establish its truth before publishing, if it wants to serve the cause of truth and justice. It is a cardinal principle in journalism that while comments are free, facts are sacred. A newspaper that publishes a false claim assaults the sensibilities of its readers, betrays public trust and is an enemy of the open society.
The media are therefore enjoined to first investigate and verify any claim made by any group or individual before publishing in order not to drag its integrity in the mud.
The media and members of the public can always approach the Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor; Ministry of Information and especially the Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General for clarification and relevant information on any (financial) matter.
Signed
Sola Fasure
Media Adviser to the Governor

We’re Not Insensitive to Pensioners Plight – Aregbesola

……..Calls for FG’s Intervention

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said that the state government is not insensitive to the plight of pensioners in the state.

Aregbesola explained that the government is incapacitated to pay the pensioners gratuity which is about N5bn.

The governor stated this just as he called on the Federal Government to assist state governments across the country in raising bonds to pay the gratuities of state pensioners who voluntarily retired from the service to avoid the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Aregbesola made the call while playing host to the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikiazor who paid him a courtesy visit at the state secretariat on Monday.

He explained that the mass retirement of workers from the state civil service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the Contributory Pension Scheme placed a gratuity burden of about N5bn on the state.

Aregbesola noted that the state has been struggling and managing to pay salaries and pension because of the continuous decline of the nation’s economy as a result of the instability in the crude oil market.

The governor said: “It’s a pity we have found ourselves in the situation we are. Because many of them (pensioners) chose to leave the service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the contributory pension scheme, the state has a gratuity burden of about N5bn.

“As at the time they were leaving, the state was already struggling to pay salaries as a result of the sharp drop in the revenue accruable to the federal government.

“It started with a drop of about N600 million and it later jumped toN1bn. If we could not meet up with their gratuity in 2012, how could we do it in 2013 or 2014 when it was getting tougher? Or is it going to be now when there is still a lot of instability in the crude oil market?

Aregbesola said the call for the FG’s intervention in the payment of gratuity for the state pensioners through provision of bonds became imperative because state governments in the country are under serious financial burdens.

According to Aregbesola, the bonds which will be paid back by the state government with ease will go a long way in relieving the states of financial burden, ensure prompt payment to pensioners and as well boosting the nation’s economy as money will be in circulation.

The governor disclosed that a lot of states across the federation who have joined the Contributory Pension Scheme are finding it difficult to offset the huge gratuity of pensioners accumulated as a result of the mass exodus from the service because they did not want to join the new pension regime.

He said:”Because many of the workers did not want to join the contributory pension scheme, a lot of them exited the service at the same time, thereby making state governments to have huge gratuity responsibilities upon them.

“I believe the Federal government can assist the state governments in raising bonds which will be paid back with ease. With the bonds, the state governments can pay the gratuities of these pensioners, thereby injecting money into the economy and boost the economy in return.

“I believe we must do all we can to ease the sufferings of the people and this is a good avenue to inject money into the system. I urge the Federal government to assist in easing the burden of the states concerning this issue because I believe they have the capacity to do it”.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikiazor stated that the directorate is in the state for the continuous pension verification exercise of federal pensioners.

“We are here to carry out the usual verification exercise of federal pensioners and we are satisfied with the hospitality we have received”, she said.

 

We’re Not Insensitive to Pensioners Plight – Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said that the state government is not insensitive to the plight of pensioners in the state.

Aregbesola explained that the government is incapacitated to pay the pensioners gratuity which is about N5bn.

The governor stated this just as he called on the Federal Government to assist state governments across the country in raising bonds to pay the gratuities of state pensioners who voluntarily retired from the service to avoid the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Aregbesola made the call while playing host to the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikiazor who paid him a courtesy visit at the state secretariat on Monday.

He explained that the mass retirement of workers from the state civil service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the Contributory Pension Scheme placed a gratuity burden of about N5bn on the state.

Aregbesola noted that the state has been struggling and managing to pay salaries and pension because of the continuous decline of the nation’s economy as a result of the instability in the crude oil market.

The governor said: “It’s a pity we have found ourselves in the situation we are. Because many of them (pensioners) chose to leave the service at the end of 2012 because they did not want to join the contributory pension scheme, the state has a gratuity burden of about N5bn.

“As at the time they were leaving, the state was already struggling to pay salaries as a result of the sharp drop in the revenue accruable to the federal government.

“It started with a drop of about N600 million and it later jumped toN1bn. If we could not meet up with their gratuity in 2012, how could we do it in 2013 or 2014 when it was getting tougher? Or is it going to be now when there is still a lot of instability in the crude oil market?

Aregbesola said the call for the FG’s intervention in the payment of gratuity for the state pensioners through provision of bonds became imperative because state governments in the country are under serious financial burdens.

According to Aregbesola, the bonds which will be paid back by the state government with ease will go a long way in relieving the states of financial burden, ensure prompt payment to pensioners and as well boosting the nation’s economy as money will be in circulation.

The governor disclosed that a lot of states across the federation who have joined the Contributory Pension Scheme are finding it difficult to offset the huge gratuity of pensioners accumulated as a result of the mass exodus from the service because they did not want to join the new pension regime.

He said:”Because many of the workers did not want to join the contributory pension scheme, a lot of them exited the service at the same time, thereby making state governments to have huge gratuity responsibilities upon them.

“I believe the Federal government can assist the state governments in raising bonds which will be paid back with ease. With the bonds, the state governments can pay the gratuities of these pensioners, thereby injecting money into the economy and boost the economy in return.

“I believe we must do all we can to ease the sufferings of the people and this is a good avenue to inject money into the system. I urge the Federal government to assist in easing the burden of the states concerning this issue because I believe they have the capacity to do it”.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikiazor stated that the directorate is in the state for the continuous pension verification exercise of federal pensioners.

“We are here to carry out the usual verification exercise of federal pensioners and we are satisfied with the hospitality we have received”, she said.

[INFOGRAPH] How Osun Disbursed Second Tranche Of Paris Refund

By Ishola ‘Layinka
The State Government of Osun has released figures explaining in details how it disbursed the N6.314b received from the Federal Government as the second tranche of the Paris Club Refund given to states in the federation.
In an infograph released by the government, the state paid out N5,998,493,302.05 out as salaries, pensions, leave bonuses and other emoluments to its workforce above recommended figures by labour unions in the state. Recall the state through a Revenue Apportionment Committee headed by Comrade Hassan Sunmonu regularly meet with the unions to apportion revenue in the state.
Giving the breakdown, N503,908,457.4 was paid as Leave Bonuses to Civil Servants, N3,768,669,258 was used to pay workers’ salaries as well as clear July and August half-salary arrears of 2015 owed senior cadre of workers in the state.
The State Government of Osun in the infograph said N934,841,306 was used to pay Local Government Workers as a total sum of N791,074,280.8 went to the pockets of the pensioners that retired from the civil service.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2016, approved the partial refund of long standing claims by state governments in respect of over-deductions from their Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, for external debt service between 1995 and 2002.
The debt service deductions were in respect of the Paris Club, London Club and Multilateral debts of the Federal and State governments, which Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005.
Since the first tranche of the refund was released in November 2016, Osun specifically disbursed the payment by using all the refund to settled workers arrears in the state.
Although, the disbursements were premised on the condition that a minimum of 50 per cent would be applied for the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions but Osun raised the ceiling to more than
.80 per cent.
The government however expressed its determination to fulfill all its financial obligations as soon as the state’s economy improves.

Aregbesola Remains Best – APC

All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun has described Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola ‘the most consistently people-oriented leader, the state has ever known since it was created some 26 years ago.

‘Every project he had designed,  and decision he had taken, (even when critics pilloried him for them), were conceived to improve the quality of life of the people and develop the economy of the state’.

These claims were made today by the Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in a statement signed by its director, Kunle Oyatomi, and made available to the media in Osogbo.

According to APC,  ‘it takes only a person consumed by hate or one totally misinformed by fake news to viciously criticise the governor’s policies and projects as the case has been since he got into office in 2010.

‘One of the most topical of these tragic attempts to undermine Aregbesola and the APC government he leads, is the issue of salary.

‘This tragedy, which is national, has been made to look as if Osun was the only one in default.

‘But the truth of the matter is that of all the states that were affected, Osun has the best plan in the circumstance to manage the crisis.

‘Even in that process, his vicious critics gave the impression,  and continue to mislead the public that Aregbesola is only paying half salaries to all workers and has refused to pay pensioners.

‘However, what this  calculating and populist governor did was to make a rational deal with labour leaders in the state as to how resources available to the government could be best used to pay salaries and pension

‘The deal is as follows:(1) Workers on levels 1-7 will receive their full salaries. (2) Workers from 8 -10 will receive 75% of their salaries, while (3) the rest of workers take 50% of their salaries.  This template applies to pensioners as well.

‘And since this deal was made in 2015, this template has been followed till today. As with the workers, so it is with pensioners’,  the APC declared

‘However’,  the party further said,  ‘fraudulent politicians have been all over town spreading the misleading impression that Aregbesola is paying all workers in the state half salaries, owing pensioners and had diverted the second tranche of the Paris Club funds that was meant for salaries and pension.

‘This falsehood is responsible for misleading some pensioners who allow themselves to become pawns in the hands of evil opposition politicians,  to disturb the peace of Osun recently.

‘In spite of all the mischief and false information,  the fact remains that no governor yet in the state of Osun who can be adjudged to have done better than Ogbeni Aregbesola in developing the state.

‘If the satanists in politics would not acknowledge it, and shortsighted people would deny it, history will however acclaim it because the facts are there to prove it.

‘But more importantly,  it is after Aregbesola would have left the stage that the people for whom he has worked so hard will come to fully realise how much this vilified populist leader had done for Osun and that regrettably is when it will truly matter.

‘History will indeed vindicate Ogbeni Aregbesola’.

Paris Club Refund: Osun To Pay Workers’ Salary Arrears, Pension, Others With N5.1bn

By Ismaeel Uthman

The state government of Osun has been reported to have resolved to commit N5.1billion of the second tranche of Paris Club Refund to the payment of arrears of leave bonus, salary and pension of the workers and pensioners of the state and those of the local government.

The state government had last week announced that it had received N6.314 billion as its own share of the refund.

The Comrade Hassan Sunmonu led Appropriation Committee and the Labour unions in the state agreed to the payment of the balance of July and August of 2015 salaries, balance of leave bonus of 2015 and July 2017 salary from the refund.

It was gathered that the decision to spend N5.1 billion to settle the arrears of pension and salary was arrived at on Wednesday night.

The arrears of leave bonus, pension and salary are expected to be paid any time from now.

The Osun Defender gathered that the meeting which was inconclusive on Tuesday was finalised on Wednesday with leaders of all the labour unions in attendance.

It was gathered that Governor Rauf Aregbesola was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola at the meeting.

Labour leaders at the meeting included the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jacob Adekomi, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Adebowale Adekola and Chairman of Joint Negotiation Council, Comrade Bayo Adejumo.

Others included Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE) Comrade Deji Adeyeye, Chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers (TUC), Comarde Waheed Amuda, Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners in Osun State, Alhaji G.O Salawu, NLC Secretary, Pastor Rufus Adeyemi, Dr Niyi Oginni of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), representative of the workers of the state owned tertiary institutions and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.

The beneficiaries of the arrears are level 8 and above workers of the state who constitute 35 per cent of the workforce. They had been receiving modulated salary since July 2015.

Workers on level 1 to 7 who constitute 65 per cent of the state personnels were being paid full salary.

The commitment of the N5.1 billion is far above the 50 per cent recommendation of the Federal Government for the payment of salary of workers from the Paris Club refund.