Kwara Begins Payment of Gratuity Arrears to 1,025 LG Pensioners
Kwara State Government has Wednesday commenced the payment of arrears of gratuity for at least 1,025 local government pensioners, who retired from Service between 2009 and 2010 in the state, with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq promising to continue to make life bearable for all categories of citizens.
Speaking in Ilorin the Kwara State capital, at the flag off ceremony of the exercise, AbdulRazaq said his administration, upon assumption of office, set up a machinery to restore the lost glory of the system, most especially prompt payment of salaries, pension and continuous release of funds for gratuity payments as a way of changing the narrative for better.
“Distinguished senior citizens, you are all aware of the pathetic situation the present administration met on ground most especially the local government administration where salaries, pension and gratuity payments were not assured and even when they were paid it’s usually amputated (Geri- Gedi),” the Governor said.
The state government had earlier in a press statement announced to use the N3.5bn SURE-P Refund to pay the retired workers, a step he said, was in line with the administration’s commitment to use any extra funds to steadily offset the arrears owed to the SUBEB and local government workers and other categories of persons owed by the past administration, believing that it is their legitimate right.
“At this juncture, we are all aware that Government is a continuum, both in asset and liability, I want to tell you that the present administration inherited humongous arrears running into several billions of naira, ranging from gratuities to pension and arrears of salary payments”.
Represented at the occasion by the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Hon Lafia Aliyu Sabi, the Governor said the gesture clearly demonstrates that the administration takes the welfare of the serving and retired workers with all seriousness.
“I am very much aware, and our distinguished senior citizens can also testify to the positive narratives we are all celebrating today such as the restoration a timely payment of salaries; implementation of the #30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustment; provision of funds for capital projects; defrayment of gratuities as funds are available, ” he added.
He appealed to the remaining pensioners – from 2011 down the line, to be calm and patient with the government, assuring them that they will be captured in the nearest future.
In attendance were the Chairman of Local Service Commission in the state, Alhaji Umar Danladi Shero; Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Comrade Abdulkareem Onagun; Board Chairman for Kwara TV, Alhaji Ahmed Adio; SAs Political for Central and North, Alhaji Suleiman Abubakar and Hon Abdulkareem Yusuf, among other dignitaries.
Shero, for his part, said the present administration inherited a lot of backlog of gratuity arrears from the past governments, which he noted, was very alarming and heartfelt considering the agony the old citizens are passing through.
He said since the inception of this administration, the state government has taken it upon itself to make sure that some of the stresses and agonies the pensioners go through in the state are drastically reduced.
“Upon the assumption of this government in 2019, the release of N20 million was raised to N100 million monthly to continually settle the backlog of gratuity arrears which were distributed to the pensioners monthly to cushion the effect of economic hardships of the concerned pensioners”, he said.
He appreciated AbdulRazaq for his untiring efforts by making sure that the pensioners dreams of receiving gratuity after retirement has come to fruition by the singular gesture of releasing funds for gratuity on monthly basis.
Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Kwara State branch, Comrade Saidu Oladimeji, praised the Governor’s wisdom and the uncommon love his administration has for the senior citizens.
Some of the recipients, who spoke at the event, such as Mr. Samuel Abifarin Adewara (from Irepodun LG); Mrs Ajibade Moradeke (Ilorin West); Mrs Funke Mercy and Mrs Hammed Risikat Tope, thanked AbdulRazaq for its impactful programmes and policies, praying God to continue to lead them aright.