Government retirees in Ondo State have given Rotimi Akeredolu, Governof the state, a two-week umltimatum to address payment of their arrears and gratuities or vacate his office.

The retirees spoke during a protest at the government office in Akure to demand the payment of their accumulated pension and gratuties.

On Tuesday, the retirees had joined angry protesting civil servants in the state to demand the payments of their accumulated salaries and arrears.

Raphael Adetuwo, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), who led the angry retirees, lamented that "old age with no money" had killed many of the former government workers.

He accused the state government of owing the retirees a total sum of N43 billion as gratuities from 2012 till date with unpaid pension.

Mr. Adetuwo lamented that the last tranche of Paris Club Refund paid to Ondo State government should have been used to offset and clear outstanding workers salary, pension and gratuities of the retirees. 

"The government is owing gratuities from 2012 to date and the pensions for the months of October, November and December 2016, as well as January 2017 and September 2018.

"If President Muhammadu Buhari rightly doled out Paris Club Refund to the state governors to enhance immediate payment of salaries and pension, then such money should be used for the purpose."

The NUP Chairman noted that the pensioners decided to speak out against the Governor because they were dying of hunger due to the non-payment of their gratuities.

The government, according to him, was shying away from all its financial responsibility on gratuities payment for the dying retirees.

"We can’t continue to keep quiet; the outstanding gratuities are getting too much," he said. "The government must do something to start paying deserving pensioners."

Sunday Akinzue, Secretary of the NUP in the state, accused the present state government of insensitivity to the plight of the retirees and former workers. 

Akinze said the retirees would be forced to relocate from their homes to the Governor's Office, and occupy all the premises if nothing is done before the end of October.

"Honestly, it's very saddening that the state government could allow pensioners to be suffering unjustly despite release of this Paris Club Refund by the Federal Government".

But, in his reaction, Mr. Akinsanmi, a representative of State Accountant General, said the state received an alert payment of N20.9 billion four weeks ago as the Paris Club Refund.

He added that the fund was meant for both the local and state governments.

"But the amount was withdrawn by CBN from the state coffers because the Federal Government said it wanted to verify the statement of account of the state, which will be presented to the Governor forum," he said. 

However, he hinted that only Lagos and Osun states had received their own payment of Paris Club Refund in the whole of the South.

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