A segment of pensioners from Osun on Tuesday said that the state government should pay their outstanding 12 months’ pensions and gratuities from the just released second tranche of the Paris Club refunds.
The pensioners, who belong to the Forum of 2011/12 Retired Public Servants, made the demand at a press conference in Osogbo.
They alleged that they had information that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola intended to divert the money to other uses, rather than for payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities as directed by the Federal Government.
“The governor in a ploy to divert the Paris Club refunds invited the `Iyalojas’ leaders of market women) to a meeting to discuss how the money will be disbursed.
“He was quoted as saying that he planned to use a part of it to settle those whose houses were demolished.
“This is contrary to the instruction given by the Federal Government to the state government before it released it.
“The Federal Government had directed then that the money must be used to settle the arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities of workers and pensioners,’’ the Chairman of the group, Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi, said.
However, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, in his reaction said that the state government had not explained how it would spend the money.
Baderinwa said that the state government had set up a committee headed by Mr Hassan Sunmonu to advise it on the proper way to disburse monies coming into the purse of the state.
“The committee is yet to deliberate on how the state will disburse the Paris Club refunds it received from the Federal Government.
“It would be presumptuous for the retirees to think that the state government wants to divert the money.
“Though, the Federal Government that released the funds to the states asked them to use certain percentage of it to settle outstanding salaries and entitlements; however, official statements are yet to be made on the money’s use.’’
The commissioner appealed to the pensioners not to cast the state in bad light.
He recalled that the pensioners had in June alleged that the state had collected the second tranche of the refunds, an allegation that was later proved to be false.