By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that a total sum of N2.698 billion has been earmarked in the 2017 budget for the construction of Elderly Care Centres across the five administrative divisions of Lagos.
This, Mr Ambode explained, is in line with his administration’s commitment to the welfare of retired civil servants/pensioners from the State Public Service,
The Governor noted that the Elderly Care Centres, which will be constructed at Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe, Alimosho and Lagos Island, was a demonstration of his administration’s commitment to the welfare of the senior citizens in appreciation of their contributions to the development of the State and the Nation while in active service.
Mr Ambode stated this at the year 2016 Lagos State Senior Citizens/Pensioners Day celebration, organised by the State Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions at the Vantage Point Event Centre, Acme Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, saying the gesture was to reassure them that their relevance in the society did not end on the day of their retirement from public service.
Speaking through his Deputy, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, the Governor noted that his administration has shown genuine commitment to the workers’ welfare including retirees right from the inception through regular payment of salaries of those in active service and prompt payment of retirees’ benefits especially those that have accrued over the years.
He informed the Retirees/Senior Citizens that his administration had earlier paid a total sum of N21.929 billion as accrued pension rights to 5,027 retirees, while another N1.5 billion intervention fund was also approved for the payment of the outstanding gratuities and accrued pensions to Local Government retirees and the balance of 142% pension arrears.
While describing the theme of the year 2016 celebration: ‘Take a Stand Against Ageism’ as instructive and appropriate, the Governor deplored the increasing discrimination and prejudicial attitudes towards older old age and aging process in the society.
Earlier, Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr Akintola Benson Oke said the celebration of Senior Citizens/ Pensioners was in recognition of their various contributions to the socio-economic development of the State while in service.
He emphasised that the celebration was also a further confirmation of the sincerity of the present administration to run an all-inclusive government where everyone is a major beneficiary of the allocation of State resources.
Speaking on behalf of the retirees/ Senior Citizens, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Mojeed Adebayo Ibrahim noted that the celebration of Pensioners day by the State government provided an avenue for all retirees and pensioners from the State public service to come together and share ideas on how to make life more bearable for themselves.
Comrade Ibrahim commended the present administration for prompt payment of pensions and gratuities to its retirees in spite of the current economic recession in the country, stressing that the governor has demonstrated quality leadership by paying all outstanding pensions and gratuities he inherited from previous administrations in the State.
While reassuring his members support and readiness to offer useful advice that could help government to achieve its goals, he pleaded with the State government to address some of the problems confronting the pensioners including payment of the remaining gratuities of all affected pensioners, especially Local Governments, Primary School Teachers and Parastatals, harmonization of all pensioners in the State owing to the current economic recession in the country, and provision of a befitting secretariat for the pensioners in the state.
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