Retired workers under the Osun State Contributory Pension yesterday barricaded the entrance of the Governor’s Office, Abere, Osogbo, to demand payment of their pension arrears. They prevented workers from entering the Secretariat as they carried placards of various inscriptions and chanted anti-government songs. Efforts by the state Head of Service (HoS), Dr. Festus Oyebade Olowogboyega, to pacify the protesters proved futile as the angry retirees shouted at him. Instead of listening to the HoS, the retirees were shouting: “Go, go, we don’t want to hear anything from you.
You are all thieves.” Some of the placards read: “We are Dying of Hunger,” “Masses, Help Us, We Are Dying,” “Dead People Cannot Enjoy Infrastructure,” among others. They alleged that the state government refused to pay their 30 months half-salary arrears (from 2016 till date), non-payment of gratuities (2015 till date) and non-payment of their monthly pensions since 2015. One of the retirees, Awodele Abiodun, urged stakeholders to assist the helpless and some homeless senior citizens to get their entitlements. Abiodun stated that despite their sickness and old age, the state government had neglected them.
According to him, many of the retirees have died of hunger. He said: “Some of us find it difficult to even buy drugs and other essentials because our monies have not been paid by the state government.”
Another retiree, Mr. Sunday Idowu, described refusal of the government to pay pensioners as an act of irresponsibility. He said: “Oyetola came on board and he is boasting of not owing workers’ salaries. What then happens to some of us dying because of the negligence caused by his boss, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the Minister of Interior? “We are dying of hunger and that’s why we took our protest to major streets of Osogbo for the stakeholders to help intervene.”