Kwara pensioners threaten to boycott elections

Date: 2018-09-19

Scores of pensioners in Kwara State took to the streets of Ilorin, the state capital, on Tuesday, alleging that they were being owed huge sums of pension arrears and gratuities.

They threatened to boycott the 2019 elections if the state government did not pay their entitlements.

The pensioners, who came from the 16 Local Government Areas of the state, displayed their Permanent Voter Cards during the protest, singing solidarity songs.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Kwara State chapter, Alhaji Saidu Oladimeji, said the pensioners had endured enough.

He added that they suffered hardship because of the debt owed them by the state and councils in Kwara.

He alleged that the state government stopped payment of gratuities since March 2014.

"We are demanding the payment of monthly pensions to retirees from the local government areas, which has entered 10 months now," he added.

It will be recalled that teachers in primary and secondary schools in Kwara State had also protested, claiming that six of their members had died as a result of unpaid salaries.

They said the deceased teachers were unable to pay for their medication when they became sick.

The teachers gave the state government an ultimatum to pay backlog of their salaries before the resumption of schools on September 27.

The teachers, who claimed being owed four months' salaries, vowed that they would not resume if the arrears were not paid.

The spokesman for the teachers from the State Universal Basic Education Board, Kwara State, Mallam Abubakar Abdulwha'ah, alleged that the reportedly deceased teachers died due to their inability to pay for their medication.

He said the surviving teachers had been turned to beggars, adding that they were inflicted with "untold poverty and excruciating hardship."

"We have not been promoted since 2010. Due to the backlog of salaries Kwara State SUBEB owes teachers, most teachers are unable to pay for medical bills. Those that died are Mrs Funke Oyedepo (Asa), Mrs Bola Ajengbe (Ilorin South), Mr Isaiah Adio (Moro), Mallam Abdulrahman Imam (Ilorin West), and Mallam Akanni Kareem (Moro)."

The state government, however, said it was working to assisting the councils in paying outstanding pension arrears.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Media and Communication, Dr Muyideen Akorede, added that parts of the council pension arrears were recently approved by the state government and settled.

"We are seeking financial facilities to pay more of the outstanding pensions," he added.




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