There was a mild drama on Thursday as security agents locked out protesting pensioners at the Governor’s office, Oke – Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The pensioners under the aegis of the Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN) had stormed the state secretariat to protest the alleged refusal to pay their gratuities by Governor Dapo Abiodun-led government.
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As early as 8 am, the senior citizens armed with placards had gathered around the state secretariat for their demonstration.
The procession of the aged protesters, however, met resistance at the second gate of the secretariat, leading to the governor’s office, as the security agents hurriedly locked the gate against the protesters.
The State Chairman of Local Government Pensioners Association (LOGPAN), Sikiru Ayilara and a handful of the officials were able to beat the security agents and gained entrance.
Enraged by the act, Ayilara attempted to force the gate open, raining abuses, but the security agents comprising police, NSCDC and private security guards, refused to budge.
Workers were left stranded with government activities paralysed momentarily.
The protest follows a three-day fast declared by the pensioners over the backlog of unpaid gratuity.
Apart from the placards with various inscriptions to press home their grievances, the pensioners were armed with mats, insisting that they would not leave the governor’s office until their demands were met.
Speaking with newsmen, Ayilara said, “We wanted to stage a peaceful protest and we introduce ourselves to them. We don’t have Cutlass. We don’t have ordinary stick in our hands.
“We just want to make the people know the treatment being meted to us as pensioners in this state.
“The suffering we are experiencing from this and the previous administration is too much.”
Ayilara had lamented that his members are hurt by the alleged non-nonchalant attitude of the governor to their demands, which include non-payment of gratuities, lateness and non-increment in the monthly pensions and discrimination against the members by the government, among others .
He accused Abiodun of “playing dangerously with the lives of the members” by refusing to pay their gratuities on time.
The association insisted that the quarterly payment of N500m by Abiodun which by calculation would take 34 years to clear all the gratuities is unacceptable.
They called for the review of the policy by voting N1billion monthly instead of payment of N500m quarterly which they said would take 34 years to clear the outstanding.