Score of pensioners in Osun State, under the aegis of Forum of Osun Pensioners, have accused the Governor Rauf Aregbesola of diverting the intervention funds meant for paying their gratuities.
They argued that though the state got over N83.9 billion from the Federal Government in form of bail out to pay backlog of salaries and gratuities, they were yet to be paid their dues, which spanned between 2008 and 2012, including 13 months pension arrears.
Addressing journalists in Osogbo on Wednesday, Chairman of the forum, Mr Ilesanmi Omoniyi called for urgent attention to cushion their plight.
He added that over 2,000 of their members have died as a result of economic hardship the nonpayment of gratuities has caused, saying the condition of pensioners in the state is worrisome and pathetic.
He opined that the government has remained insensitive and practically indifferent to their condition despite persistent pleas from the group.
Responding, government through a statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo by Commissioner for Information, Mr Adelani Badarinwa described the claim of the pensioners as a blackmail and attempt to discredit the government.
“The 2011/2012 pensioners group are fraction of those who retired from service in 2012 to avoid being part of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“As a government, we categorically state that government has paid workers and pensioner up to date with the modulated structure agreed opon by the government and the labour unions since 2015. Government does not owe any worker or pensioner based on the modulated payment scheme as the pensioners have alleged.
“We wish to put it on record that Aregbesola increased the amount being paid as pension by 500 per cent in 2011. The nonpayment of gratuity is not peculiar to Osun; and the government has shown its readiness to pay the gratuity as soon as the state finances improve.
“It is on record that this group of pensioners had at one time or the other in the past lied against the Government of the State of Osun; and in specific reference they had alleged that government collected a tranche of the Paris Club refund and diverted it only to have a whole month wait for the actual release of the fund”, the statement read.