Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara says he is willing to assist local government councils in the state to meet their obligations in the payment of salaries and pensions.
A statement issued on Thursday in Ilorin by Dr Muideen Akorede, the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, said such assistance was, however, subject to availability of resources.
The governor was reacting to a statement credited to the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) blaming his administration for the inability to receive their pension arrears.
The Chairman of NUP in the state, Alhaji Haliru Mohammed, had said 6,000 local government pensioners and retired teachers in the state were owed N5 billion in unpaid gratuity.
Mohammed, who was addressing pensioners in Ilorin on Thursday, said the last payment of gratuity to retirees from the 16 local government councils was in 2008.
He said this was creating untold hardship for the affected retirees most of whom he described as the bread winners of their families.
Mohammed lamented that all efforts to make the state government and the 16 local councils provide assistance had proved futile.
“The state government deliberately neglected us without any consideration for our plight as a result of inconsistent policies,” he said.
The chairman expressed regrets that no fewer than 1,720 retirees, who were expecting their gratuity between 2008 and 2017, had died across the 16 local government areas .
Ahmed , however, said that the delay in the payment of salaries and pension arrears being experienced in councils was due to the reduced federal allocation to all tiers of government.
He said that inspite of this, the state government had severally supplemented the allocations to the councils in order to enable them pay their monthly salaries and pensions.
The governor, who appealed for patience, expressed optimism that allocation to the three tiers of government would soon be increased based on the Federal Government’s efforts to boost the economy.
Ahmed also gave an assurance that his government would continue to promote dialogue with stakeholders while maintaining an open door policy.
He called on all aggrieved parties to always utilise these options. (NAN)