Ondo poly retirees groan under unpaid N912.7m pension arrears
Retired workers of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State have raised alarm of incessant deaths of their colleagues due to non-payment of their gratuity and pension increase arrears amounting to N912.7 million as at December 31, 2016.
The public outcry of the former workers of the state-owned institution was contained in a statement issued at the end of their meeting under the aegis of Association of Retired Staff held in the school premises.
The statement signed by Mr Rufus Oguntoyinbo and Mr Stephen Oluwole, the Chairman and the Secretary of the association respectively, said not less than 57 of them had died in the last three years.
Oguntoyinbo said the figure excluded the 33 per cent pension increase already approved by the Federal Government in 2010. According to him, one of them died because he could not get money to buy his regular drug, which cost only N500, saying there were many others that had died silently too due to their inability to feed themselves and carry out their responsibilities.
He added: “We are worried that the regular and constant report of death forwarded to the Rector did not attract any sympathy from the management. “A retiree died because he could not raise N500 to buy his regular drug while death of 57 members reported within the last three years did not count before the management of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo.”
The senior citizen lamented that all the promises made by the state government and management of the institution to assuage their suffering were not fulfilled.
“The promise made by Governor Olusegun Mimiko in his office on April 14, 2013 that the pension arrears and gratuity would be paid remained unfulfilled to date.
“Several delegations of well-meaning people of Ondo State including traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders were sent thereafter to Governor Mimiko without response. If the government wants to claim that there is recession now, was there recession in 2013? Oguntoyinbo stated.
The chairman disclosed that the management of the polytechnic, then under Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun, refused to carry out the directives of the State House of Assembly to look into their plights were to no avail .
“The rector did not implement placement of the pensioners on the enhanced pension increase rates on 1st October, 2014 as promised. The failure of then rector to implement the House of Assembly Resolution as contained implied that members who retired with effect from 1994 are still on their initial pension to date.
“There is no increase for over 16 years. This is not only deliberate, but inconsiderate and unjust. We are making the whole world, especially the incoming administration in Ondo State, to know the predicament of the retirees of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo. It is important to note that whatever we do in power today will certainly become history,” he said.