Pensioners in Osun State under the aegis of the Forum of 2011/2012 Retired Public Servants of Osun State have written to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him not to release the new tranche of Paris Club loan refund meant for the payment of retirees and workers to Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The pensioners made this appeal in an open letter written to Buhari and signed by the Chairman, Omoniyi Ilesanmi; Secretary, Sola Olojede and one of the leaders, Yemi Lawal. A copy of the letter was made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Sunday.
They accused Aregbesola of frustrating the good intention of Buhari on the payment of backlog of pensions and salaries while claiming that the governor had diverted N83bn purposely meant for the payment of pension and salary arrears including gratuities.
The pensioners alleged that the governor would divert the new tranche of the Paris Club loan refund if it was released to him just like he allegedly diverted the previous ones.
Ilesanmi appealed to the President not to release any fund meant for the state to anybody, claiming that plans had been perfected to use one Mr. Mordi, based in Lagos and one Mr. Makanjuola in Osun State to divert the money meant to make life comfortable for thousands of workers and pensioners.
The letter read in part, “ As of the time of writing this letter to your Excellency, the Osun State governor owes pensioners and workers 13 and a half months of pensions and salaries while he has put a total stoppage to payment of gratuities since September 2013.
“It is only your intervention, Mr. President, that can bail us out from the present economic predicament our governor’s inhuman policies have pushed us into.
“We, therefore, appeal to you in the name of Allah, not to release any fund meant for pensioners and workers to Governor Rauf Aregbesola again, otherwise, he will divert it as usual. Let there be audit of pensioners and workers to be supervised by an independent external body otherwise the amount will be inflated by Ogbeni Aregbesola.
“The disbursement or payment should be done and supervised by the Federal Government’s agents through selected commercial banks in the state which will pay directly into the beneficiaries’ accounts.”
The pensioners described the Osun State House of Assembly, which is saddled with the responsibilities of holding erring governors responsible for financial recklessness, as a lapdog of Aregbesola.
They said the President would have saved thousands of pensioners and workers from hunger, sickness and avoidable deaths if he could ensure that pensions and salaries were paid directly to beneficiaries’ accounts.
Efforts to speak with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, were unsuccessful as calls placed across to his telephone line were not answered and text sent to him also had yet to be replied as of the time of filing this report .
However, the governor had described similar allegations of the same group of pensioners as falsehood, saying they were being used by the opposition party to tackle the state government.
– Copyright PUNCH