Pensioners under the aegis of College of Education of Ikere Ekiti Pensioners Association, have lamented over their 27 years unpaid pension and gratuity by the Ekiti state government, saying the situation had brought untold hardship to them.
The pensioners who disclosed that no fewer than 150 of its members have lost their lives without enjoying the fruits of their labour after waiting endlessly for their pension and gratuity.
Speaking on the behalf of the pensioners in Akure, Ondo State capital, former Librarian of the school and the Secretary of the association, Mr Mathew Popoola, said despite the judgement of the National Industrial Court compelling the Ekiti State government to pay the pension and gratuities of the pensioners, the state government has failed to honour the judgement.
He expressed dismay with the condition of the retirees whom he said served diligently in their prime have been left in poverty and hardship in their later years.
Popoola said the majority of the pensioners have been living from hand to mouth and depend on relatives and friends for survival.
He lamented that “It is a pity those pensioners died submitting to cruel hands of death because they couldn’t care for themselves health-wise. Those still alive are not in any way better because the monthly pension are not being paid.
“The situation has become unbearable for us and we have no option than to cry aloud for the world to know that we are suffering.
“There were no concrete plans to pay pensioners entitlement by successive governments, except the attempts made by Governor Fayemi during his first term in office which could not be fulfilled because he lost his re-election bid.
“This was the state we were in 2016 that led the pensioners forming an association that would fight for the payment of their benefit and approached the National Industrial Court in Akure.
He disclosed that the Court in a judgement delivered by Hon Justice K.D. Damulak, mandated the Ekiti State Government to pay the pensioners their pensions, gratuities, arrears of salaries and other emoluments having served the institution meritoriously.
“The order compelled the Ekiti State government to pay the pensioners the sum of N1.34b while the defendant shall pay to the claimants their outstanding benefits which include pensions, gratitude and arrears of salaries in 21 equal instalments of N50m monthly.
The pensioners appealed to governor Fayemi and the Ekiti State government to honour the court judgement and put a smile on the faces of the old men and women who had worked for the development of the state in the past, saying “this is the best time for Fayemi to concretise his plans of 2013.”
While noting the implication of the judgment in the face of the recent upgrade of the college to a University to indirectly means the non-existence of the college, the pensioners said: “It is now the responsibility of the Ekiti State government, notwithstanding the court judgement, to ensure that every retiree from 1993 to 2020 are paid their entitlements to avoid more deaths.”