Seven local government pensioners have reportedly died in Ekiti State in the last two weeks over hardship allegedly unleashed on them as a result of non-payment of their monthly pensions and gratuities.
The council pensioners made this known on Monday at their monthly meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
Acting under the aegis of Concerned Local Government Pensioners’ Forum, the pensioners expressed shocks over the spate of deaths of retirees who lack money to take care of themselves.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Forum’s Coordinator, Alhaji Quadri Oguntuase and Secretary, Mr. Biodun Agboola, urged the state government to accord the pensioners’ welfare utmost priority.
The seven who died in the last two weeks, according to the communiqué, were Mr. J.O. Ojo, Mr. Adedayo Ojo, Mrs. Modupe Aribisala, Mr. Abegunde, Mr. Ogunleye, Mrs. Adelugba and Alhaji Abdullahi.
The retirees observed a minute’s silence in honour of the deceased, who were part of last month’s meeting.
The Forum reminded the state government that council pensioners have only been paid up till February 2017 “contrary to the state government’s pronouncement in the media.”
Speaking with reporters at the end of the meeting, the LG Pensioners’ Forum boss, Oguntuase, decried the condition of the retirees whom he said served diligently in the prime only to be dumped to poverty and hardship in their latter years.
Oguntuase lamented that, “The situation has become unbearable for us and we have no option that to cry aloud for the world to know that we, pensioners are suffering in Ekiti.
“The rate at which we are dying is alarming and imagine the harvest of deaths in the last two weeks. Seven of our members died within the period and the situation was caused by non-payment of our benefits.
“Because our monthly pensions are not paid, many of us lack money to eat and to take care of our families. The denial of our rights has made many of us to become irresponsible fathers and husbands at home.
“In fact, many of those who died had no money to buy drugs to manage their ailments or to take themselves to hospitals. Things are as bad as that and we want the state government to look for ways to pay us our pensions and gratuities,” he said.
“We believe it is not an offence to diligently serve our fatherland; government should not watch while we suffer because our entitlements are our rights that we should not be denied of.”