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10 years after: LUTH retirees protest, demand payment of gratuities



10 years after: LUTH retirees protest, demand payment of gratuities

Juliana Francis and
Damilare Oguntoyinbo

Traders and motorists at Ojuelegba area of Lagos State, watched in sympathy as old men and women gathered under the bridge, claiming to have been short changed in their gratuities 10 years ago.
The old pensioners armed themselves with placards, chanting, “All we’re saying, give us our rights.”
The aged men and women, who are retired staff of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said the protest was to alert the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and President Muhammadu Buhari of their plight and hope something would be swiftly done.
They alleged that 10 years ago, they were supposed to be paid their full gratuity and expected their cheques. But when it was time to pay, they discovered that the money the Federal Government paid them was cancelled on the ‘Retiree Severance Pay Slip’ by the bankers, while already filled tellers’ were given to them. When they checked the tellers, they realised that their gratuity was slashed and started a protest.
Mrs. Omotayo Oserinde, 63, spokesperson for the aggrieved pensioners, said: “We protested that we wanted our full money. We carried the protest to LUTH, where the Chief Medical urged us to collect the money that he would do everything within his power to ensure that our balance was paid. The money was paid in 2008. It has being 10 years already since the first half of the money was paid and we’re waiting to be called upon for our balance.”
Oserinde, who said that they were over 500 affected retired staff, disclosed that so many have died, waiting for their balance to be paid.
She added: “We live in poverty and we are losing hope, waiting for our money. Those who paid us carried out a sort of secret payment.
“We want the Accountant General of the Federation to be aware of what is going on with our payment and balance of our money.”
Oserinde, who could barely stand, said her story was similar to those of her colleagues.
The woman said she was a widow and had to bring up five children alone.
Asked why protesting now after 10 years, Comrade Agu Virgilus, 63, said: “We’re complaining now after 10 years because it has become too late for some of our colleagues and we don’t want it to become too late for us. Just take a look at us, we started work at a very young age, we’re now abandoned at our old age. They refused to pay us. Many of our members are dead! Many are in the hospitals.
“We’re asking President Muhammed Buhari to urge the right people to look into our matter. We believe he can do something. He is the one that had been saying there shouldn’t be corruption. Buhari should come to our aid. What happened to us is corruption. We have nobody to fight for us. We believe that Buhari can question the Accountant General of the Federation and the pay masters who paid us half gratuities.”

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