Ondo State’s Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has begun the payment of N1 billion in gratuities for teachers and local government workers who retired in 2011.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr. Dare Aragbaiye, said the N1 billion was sourced from the October allocation from the federation account.
He said the payment of N1 billion marked a gradual defrayment of the backlog of gratuity arrears for retirees of Local Government and Primary school teachers.
According to him, another tranche would soon be paid within the first quarter of next year.
Some pensioners who retired in 2012 were paid, while those the government termed distressed benefitted from the N1 billion payment.
The Governor said that his administration has fully paid all outstanding salaries and pensions, including the allowances of all retirees left by the previous administration.
“We want to make sure pensioners in the state do not suffer anymore. We are making efforts to rid our communities of miscreants and criminals, as well as those who engage in cult-related activities in our dear state.
“The State Government is continually committing enormous resources to strengthening the Amotekun Corps in terms of equipment and human resources.
“This is in addition to the provision of funds and other logistical support to other sister security agencies operating in Ondo State. Our government cannot tolerate a situation where our citizens cannot conduct their daily businesses in a safe environment.”
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Takuro Amidu, said the payment of the gratuity was initiated by Governor Akeredolu by ensuring that some money was saved every month.
Amidu said that Governor Akeredolu was poised to take care of senior citizens.
Some of the pensioners said it was suicidal for them to survive 12 years without collecting their gratuities.
Many of them said that they would use a chunk of the money to pay accumulated debts.
One of them, Chief Ojo Samuel, said it was difficult for him to cope with life situations after he retired and his gratuity was not paid.
“We thank God we are alive to collect and enjoy our benefit.”
The Chairman of pensioners in Ondo State, Johnson Osunyemi, said the payment of N1 billion was a reassurance that the governor would do more for them.
Osunyemi said pensioners have not witnessed such a good gesture in the state.