By Ebitonye Akpodigha
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in Oyo State, Mr Bimbo Kolade, has expressed the government’s displeasure over the 14-day ultimatum given by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP).
Mr Kolade noted that the state government had already approved the release of N880 million on Friday, October 7, 2016, for the payment of pensions of retired Local Government Pensioners across the state.
He said this was done during the monthly Joint Account Allocation Committee meeting held last Friday with all the Caretaker chairmen of Local Government Areas in Oyo State.
According to him, “Facts and figures I have with me from Local Government Staff Pensions Board indicates that Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday, 7th October 2016, approved the sum of N880 million for the payment of arrears being owed retired Local Government Primary School teachers and Local Government retirees.”
Condemning the publication by the NUP as mischievous, baseless and unacceptable, the Commissioner said that the 14-day ultimatum was unnecessary as funds had already been approved for the purpose last week.
Mr Kolade, while assuring local government retirees of government’s commitment to their welfare, by ensuring prompt payment of their entitlements, also implored them to ensure that they attend the ongoing verification exercise being carried out by the Pension’s Board.
The Commissioner explained that the verification exercise has assisted the state government through the Local Government Staff Pensions Board in discovering about 400 names of pensioners whose gratuities are pending, but “have issues with their data.”
He also appealed to labour leaders in the state to always embrace dialogue rather than confrontations on the pages of newspaper, especially at a time when the labour-government standing committee constantly meets to proffer solutions to issues of wages, salaries and pensions in the state.