Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has released the sum of N500m for the payment of gratuities of the state and local government retirees.
Presenting the cheques to some among the first batch of 257 beneficiaries at June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta on Wednesday, the governor apologised to the retirees for the default in payment of their gratuity by the immediate past administration from as far back as 2011.
He noted that it was quite unwholesome to delay such payment of the senior citizens who had toiled for the state and retired.
The governor stated that the payment of the N500m signalled the commencement of a payment process for all the pensioners in the state, and it would continue on a quarterly basis.
Though Governor Abiodun described the outstanding gratuity and pensions as inherited liabilities, he promised to increase the amount from the current N500m upwards in subsequent payments.
He said, “Though these payments are inherited liabilities from past government, I am assuring you that the process of paying these gratuities have started and will definitely continue.
“This is a promise made and promise kept. I promise to do this on a quarterly basis.”
Apart from the payment of monetary entitlements, the governor also assured the retirees that he was committed to providing other opportunities for them under the state’s social intervention programmes.
He urged them to take advantage of such programmes, stating that those who were into micro and small businesses, could key into ‘Oko Owo Dapo’ which is a micro-credit scheme that provides a window for women to access financial resources to expand their micro and small businesses.
Besides, he said the state government was in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria and had inaugurated the Anchor Borrowers Scheme on Agriculture.
Under this scheme, he added that the indigenes, including our pensioners, could embrace Agriculture Entrepreneurship as a way of life and living.
Governor Abiodun explained that participants would be provided with land, which would be cleared for them, improved seedling and other extension services, in addition, off takers, would be sourced for their produce at agreed prices that are known to all at the time of planting, thereby guaranteeing price stability and adequate reward for effort.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ogun State chapter, Comrade Waheed Oloyede thanked the Governor for honouring his promise in offsetting arrears of gratuity in batches.
He, however appealed to the governor to increase the quarterly payment from N500m upward to N1bn quarterly in order to accommodate more retirees.
While speaking for retirees in the first batch who got their cheques, Mr Taiwo Abraham also thanked the Governor for putting an end to their pains and suffering due to non-payment of their entitlements.