Retired primary school teachers in Oyo State, on Wednesday, took to the streets in protest against non-payment of their outstanding gratuities and pensions, totalling about N17 billion.
The protesters, numbering about 500, who after their congress held at the Agodi GRA, trooped to the streets, disclosed that the retired teachers, who are affected by the state government’s indebtedness could not be less than 7,000 across the state.
Under the aegis of National Association of Retired Primary School Teachers, the distraught pensioners recalled that the past administration of Adebayo Alao-Akala defrayed all the outstanding gratuities he met on ground just in two months.
They also said they retired from active service in July 2011, barely two months after the incumbent governor was sworn in, but lamented that the administration of Ajimobi never paid any gratuity to the retired primary school teachers since his assumption of office.
This, they said, was despite the 2013 oil windfall of N100 billion from the Federation Account as revealed by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The retired teachers described as erroneous the N6.5 billion allegedly looted at the Oyo State Local Government Pension Board between October 2010 and April 2011, where it was alleged that their money was carted away by a cartel at the Pension Board.
Instead, what happened was that, “the money looted was never pensioners’ money but Oyo State Government’s fund being looted by some officials of the state government long before Governor Ajimobi was sworn- in”, the retired teachers explained.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the association’s meeting before they embarked on the protest, the retired teachers maintained that the former Governor Alao-Akala paid the gratuities of the retired primary school teachers up to 2009.
Rather than picking the pension bill from where his predecessor stopped, the retired teachers said the government of Ajimobi had, through a circular with Ref. No. SP/S.326/T14A/26, via the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Akin Olajide, decided to pay 50 per cent of the monthly pension.