Some retirees in Lagos State have pleaded with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to collect federal government bailout funds or borrow to clear their outstanding payments.
They made the plea during a meeting with the governor on Monday.
The governor was represented by the Head of Service, Akeem Muri-Okunola. At the meeting were permanent secretaries, officials of the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), Lagos State Association of Retirees, and Pension Fund Administrators.
Michael Adeyemo, the chairman of the association of retirees, said the major grievance of their members is the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities since 2015.
“The retirees have not been receiving anything for four years, that is 48 months, little wonder many of us have become a ghost of our real self,” he said.
Mr Adeyemo said the non-payment of their entitlements had made many unable to pay fees of children in higher institutions and others bedridden or rendered homeless.
One of the retirees, Moses Ajiboye, described the action of the government as insensitive.
“I cannot imagine that a worker will retire for 3-4 years and no payment,” said Mr Ajiboye, who was a level 17 principal of Ayangore Junior Grammar School, Ikorodu.
“How much money would a worker have stolen that will last for three to four years? If you retired as a teacher, what money would you have, were you selling the children or chalk? What do they want us to eat? I retired in March 2016, and it would be three years by next month. Since then, no single alert. When one retires for that long without an alert, one will be weak.
“It will get to a particular level that there will be a reaction and we will fight back,” Mr Ajiboye said.
Another retiree, Alabi Taofeek, urged the state government to use the federal government bailout.
“We heard that it is only Lagos State that has not taken bailout,” said Mr Taofeek, a retired level 17 worker and former principal of Ipaja College.
“They should take it and pay us. Many of us are dead, many have become street beggars and many depend on distant relatives as a means of livelihood.”
Babatunde Alabi, the secretary of the retirees association, said their submission is for their entitlements to be paid in the next two months.
Alabi Babatunde, who retired in 2016, stated that “our submission is that we want our money to be paid in the next two months.. We have given the mandate, they should get bailout or borrow money to pay us”.
“We have not offended the government by serving for 35 years, we spent the most useful of our days and our youth serving the government. They should do whatever it takes to pay us,” he added.
The chairman of the retirees noted that the head of service had promised the payments for 2015 would be made by March. He urged the government to pay the outstanding years within the next two months.