Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was on Wednesday commended by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ondo State Chapter for what they described as the “greatest gift”, of 33.4% pay rise of pension for retirees which he recently approved for them.
The NUP Acting Chairman, Elder Adedapo Salami and the Union’s State Secretary, Comrade Akin Sunday, made the remark in Akure in an interview with newsmen.
They said pension increment and implementation remained one of the happiest days in the history of the senior citizens.
Mr Salami noted that Ondo State is one of the few states in Nigeria that had approved and commenced the implementation of the pension increase, which he said would go a long way in reducing the suffering of retirees in the state.
The NUP Chairman said, “I can say the period I had the happiest day of my life is the period of the approval of the new minimum wage.
“We have been waiting for it, and we are very happy and grateful to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the approval of this new minimum wage.
“The other demand we are still expecting is the two and half arrears of the local government and primary school pensioners.
“As a matter of fact present government met unpaid salaries and pensions of seven months arrears from the past government and the present government paid off the six months and even continue paying normal salaries.
“So we are appealing to government to pay this two months arrears of local government and primary school teachers pensioners,” Salami said.
Speaking in the same vein, the NUP State Secretary, Comrade Akin Sunday said the 33% pension increase was approved by the federal government in 2010 but the implementation started in 2014 for pensioners and Ondo state NUP had been agitation to benefit since then, but to no avail until the recent approval Governor Akeredolu.
“We have written so many letters to the immediate past administration for the implementation of this but no positive result but thank God Almighty for giving us the regime of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to approve and implement this 33% pension increase.
“In Ondo state today, our pensioners are jubilating and rejoicing for this and praising the led government of Akeredolu.
“Some of pensioners that didn’t benefit from the newly implemented wage are camplaining, saying that why it should not be extended to them, you don’t expect them to benefit from it, but only those who retired before October 2014 are the original people that will get it.
On the gratuities, Akin Sunday explained that, “gratuities is a very critical area that the union will try to talk to government about.
“We thank God for this present administration in Ondo state on gratuity payment, is being paid gradually, the governor has increased money for it.
“Gratuity indebtedness for Ondo state government is over 60billion naira, however during the last pensioners day, an idea came up that state and federal should approach the Central Bank on this kind of debt, and the Bank should pay the accumulated gratuities, and government will raise a bond to pay back to the Central Bank and we like this idea and agreed to that,” the NUP Secretary said.