Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has presented N500 million gratuity to pensioners in the state to clear the backlog of gratuities so as to guarantee their welfare in their old age.
Oyebanji made the presentation on Thursday while receiving the beneficiaries numbering about 140 at Jibowu Hall, Ado-Ekiti.
The governor said his administration was aware of the hardship caused by the subsidy removal on the senior citizens who had served the state meritoriously for the better part of their lives while assuring that he would always look for avenues to cushion the effect of the economic situation.
While disclosing that efforts were in top gear to work our modalities on clearing the backlog of all gratuity arrears, Oyebanji said his administration would also consider the demand for monthly payment of gratuity to Pensioners.
He said, “On all outstanding issues, we are working so hard to ensure that we crack those nuts; I’m aware of all the arrears of pensions and check-off dues and many things that are still due to our people.
“We intend to come to a point where we reach an appreciable number of pensioners, and you know that a committee has been put in place, and very soon, discussion will be concluded on it. We are trying to get the best deal for our people. What will gladden my heart is to sit down and see that we are doing N20 billion, and if feasible, it will get to a larger number.
“Also, on what the labour leaders refer to as wage award, I will not rush and promise you something that I will start and won’t be able to sustain. If I want applause, I can award it too, and when it is no longer sustainable, we start dragging it.
Meanwhile, speaking at the event, the Head of Service, Sunday Komolafe, commended the Governor on the drive to ensure careful implementation of his administration’s cardinal programmes and policies to impact positively on the lives of the people, saying the various disbursements he had made for pensioners in the state laid credence to his resolve to make life meaningful and worthwhile for the people.
Komolafe called on citizens of the state to continue to support the government with their prayers to achieve a better Ekiti where everyone will be comfortable in the shared prosperity agenda of the state.
The state’s chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Kolapo Olatunde, and his counterpart from the Trade Union Congress, Sola Adigun, opined that the narratives had changed concerning the issues of pension and gratuity payment in the state since the inception of the present administration.
Some beneficiaries, including Mrs Christiana Ademulegun, Mr Joseph Abiola, and Mrs Janet Ogunlade, thanked the Governor for prioritising issues concerning pensioners’ welfare.
Also at the event were the Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye; Speaker, House of Assembly, Adeoye Aribasoye; Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akintunde Oyebode; members of state Executive Council and Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro.