The verification of pensioners in Osun State started on Monday, an exercise that was greeted with personnel and logistics challenge.
About 20 pensioners out of those who turned up for the verification held in Osogbo, the state capital, had to be attended to by the medical personnel at the venue of the exercise after they suffered exhaustion.
The senior citizens had stormed the venue across the state to get verified very early and waited for the consultant handling the exercise to arrive with her staff.
When the exercise took off, a large number of the retirees waiting to be captured overwhelmed the few officials handling the exercise.
The slow pace of the exercise which angered the pensioners led to tension and the situation got worse when some of the retirees who could no longer withstand the rigour, suffered exhaustion and had to be attended to by the paramedics from the Osun Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System.
The exercise was later suspended by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Wale Egbedun, who rushed to the scene.
Some of the retirees, who spoke to our correspondent could not hide their displeasure and demanded decentralisation of the exercise.
Pa Thomas Olagunju from Ipetu-Ijesa, Mrs Mary Iluyomade from Ikirun, and Mr Akin Ajasa, from Oyan, who spoke to The PUNCH said they arrived at the venue before 7:30 a.m. but were not attended to timely.
Olagunju who could barely walk said, “I left Ipetu-Ijesa with about 10 others. We have been here since 7:30 a.m. Yet, we could not complete the exercise. I submitted all my documents but I could not get verified through the biometric capturing being used. I will have to repeat the journey.
“The consultant must think of decentralisation. The stress is too much. The staff members are not enough for this large number. Many of us felt exhausted and had to be attended to here. People on wheelchairs were made to come here, some could not see too and they all came here.”
When contacted, the Head of Operations, Osun Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System, Elizabeth Arowosafe, said 20 pensioners who suffered exhaustion were treated and discharged.
She said, “At least about 20 people were attended to by the O’ Ambulance personnel. None of them lost consciousness but they were weak and tired because they were elderly people and did not have enough strength.
“The place was overcrowded. The prolonged standing led to tiredness. Those are the cases that we attended to by checking their blood pressure. No incident of collapse.”
Speaking on the challenges encountered during the exercise, spokesperson to the governor, Olawale Rasheed, assured the pensioners that the governor, Ademola Adeleke, meant well for them.
Rasheed said, “The governor will never do anything that will put pensioners at a disadvantage and in this particular case that happened, we can see the immediate intervention of the government through the Speaker that came to quickly stop the verification exercise. The governor has ordered an investigation into what happened, what caused it, and who are those responsible and I want to tell you that correction is ongoing.”