Retirees at the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo (RUGIPO) in Ondo State have asked the outgoing Governor Olusegun Mimiko to offset their outstanding pension arrears before the handing over of his administration to a new government.
The retirees claimed that Mr. Mimiko's outgoing government owed them an accumulated pension arrears of over N912,727,324.85 which have not been paid since December 31, 2016.
They made the demand for the payment of their entitlements in a press statement issued shortly after their annual general meeting held inside the institution's campus at the weekend.
The statement was signed by their Chairman, Rufus Oguntoyinbo, and General Secretary, Steven Olufawoye, and was obtained by SaharaReporters in Akure on Sunday.
The pensioners, in the statement, disclosed how they had been suffering and undergoing hardship due to the outgoing government's refusal to pay their salaries and pensions.
They lamented and explained how a fellow pensioner suddenly died on his sick bed as he could not raise the small sum of N500 to buy his regular prescribed medicine.
The retirees also stated that no fewer than fifty-seven of their colleagues, who had been a part of the struggle since 2006, had died mysteriously without receiving their arrears and wages.
They specifically blamed the outgoing governor, who will hand over the government on Thursday, for their predicament, stating that all the promises made by Mr. Mimiko to offset the debt were not fulfilled.
The aggrieved pensioners also fingered the immediate past Rector of the Rufus Giwa Poly, Igbekele Ajibefun, of being responsible for their misfortune.
They accused Mr. Ajibefun of not implementing a report of the State House of Assembly directing the institution to pay the outstanding arrears of the retirees.
"The Assembly directed that the management of the polytechnic should pay retirees the arrears of pension and gratuity as from 2006 to date.
“That management of the institution should commence the full payment of pensions to all retirees in accordance with enhanced salaries from 2001 to date.
“The financial implication of placing the affected pensioners on the enhanced pension increase rate is about N600,000 per month; which we expect management to add to the monthly wage bill.
“Ajibefun, who could not afford to release that amount to the monthly pension of some retirees, autocratically collected N49,600,000 as his gratuity at the end of his four years in office at the polytechnic.
“We are making the whole world, especially the incoming administration in Ondo State, know the predicaments of the retirees of the State Polytechnic," the statement read in part.