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Aiyedatiwa flags off LG N1b gratuity payment

By Adedotun Ajayi

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Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Tuesday flagged off the second batch of bulk payments of outstanding gratuities to local government retirees.

At the flag off ceremony held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office in Akure, the state capital, the Governor emphasised that the welfare of retirees within the state is not negotiable.

He equally highlighted his administration’s ongoing commitment to further improve the welfare of retired public servants in the state.

Aiyedatiwa explained that his administration is reviewing the template for the payment of gratuity to retirees towards speedy payment of backlog owed by the government.

This, he said, is in continuation of the efforts of his administration towards promoting the welfare of retirees in the State.

Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Governor, Dr. Olayide Adelami, Secretary to the State government, Tayo Oluwatuyi, Chief of Staff, Prince Segun Omojuwa, Head of Service, Mr Bayo Philip,  State Chairman of SUBEB, Victor Olabimtan, other members of the State Executive Council, Permanent Secretaries, State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr Johnson Osunyemi, among others.

Aiyedatiwa expressed satisfaction for being able to bring relief to senior citizens who have served the state diligently.

“Today is another landmark in our avowed commitment to the welfare of our people, including workers in Service and at retirement in the Sunshine State”, he stressed.

He recalled previous payments made under his administration, with the substantial attendant relief to many beneficiaries.

“In November 2023, the First Batch of this innovative bulk payment of outstanding gratuity of our former Local Government Staff and Primary School teachers was carried out. In January 2024, another flag-off of payment of one billion and two hundred million naira (N1.2b) was also performed right here for the year 2014 pensioners of the State Civil Service”, he added.

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The governor said the current batch focuses predominantly on retirees from the year 2012 and aims to settle remaining arrears from previous years.

Aiyedatiwa reiterated his administration’s dedication to the consistent and fair payment of pensions and gratuities, stressing that the welfare of retirees is non-negotiable.

“To our administration, the welfare of our retirees is not negotiable and we shall continue to ensure prompt payment of their monthly pension allowances and gratuities.”

“We have a sacred duty to ensure that pensioners are considered for payment of gratuity largely on verifiable criteria and indices that embrace equity, justice, fairness and good conscience,” he said.

He particularly congratulated the beneficiaries and advised them to use their entitlements wisely. 

“Our administration will not rest on its laurels as we owe a sacred duty to maximize the happiness and welfare of the greatest number of our people,” he added.

Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Amidu Takuro, in his welcome address, expressed his gratitude to the governor, acknowledging that retirees have been facing hardships and emphasizing that the governor has their best interests at heart.

Also in his remarks, the State Head of Service, Mr. Bayo Philips, described the event as stemming from a Godly mind, emphasizing that the governor’s actions reflect a divine approach.

The Head of Service praised Governor Aiyedatiwa for taking bold steps to ensure that retirees do not suffer, adding that the governor’s actions provide him with personal comfort and reassurance about his own future retirement.

He thanked the governor for prioritizing the welfare of the citizens.

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Expressing his gratitude to the Governor, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr. Johnson Osunyemi, noted that the payment is a significant relief for the retirees, as it has been long awaited. He assured the Governor of the retirees support in the forthcoming state election.

Joshua Adeoye, a retired teacher, who is also a beneficiary expressed his gratitude for the governor’s efforts, saying “This payment is a huge relief for me and my family. I commend Governor Aiyedatiwa for keeping his promise to us retirees. It shows that he genuinely cares about our well-being.”

Grace Adebayo Abosede, a retired head teacher from Ifedore Local Government, also shared her appreciation, noting “I am thankful to the governor for this timely intervention. The financial burden we have been facing has been overwhelming, but this gesture has brought us hope and comfort. Governor Aiyedatiwa’s dedication to the welfare of retirees is truly commendable.”

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