Pensioners in Osun State on Thursday morning staged another protest over the alleged refusal of Governor Rauf Aregbesola to pay their entitlements from the Paris Club loan refund.
The fresh protest by the pensioners, who occupied one of the two lanes leading to the state secretariat, took a new dimension as Christians among the pensioners gathered at one side and prayed, asking God to “wage war against our oppressors.” The Muslims also gathered beside the Christians and prayed that God should not give the governor rest until he paid their pensions and entitlements.
The Muslims recited the Holy Quran and said they would not cease to say such prayers until the governor pay them.
The pensioners said they had lost so many of their colleagues because they could not afford to treat themselves as a result of the non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
There was a mild drama when the pensioners decided to slaughter a black goat and a white ram which they claimed was required for their prayers to complete.
The pensioners insisted that they would slaughter the animals in front of the secretariat but policemen stopped them.
Following a hot argument, one of the leaders of the pensioners, Alhaji Yemi Lawal, dragged the animals away to a house far from the secretariat and killed them.
Lawal later told journalists that the meat would be distributed to beggars.
Lawal said, “We decided to take our case to Aregbesola’s Creator in prayer because the suffering is much. We fixed today for these special prayers without knowing that Aregbesola’s mother’s fidau would also hold today. We didn’t know that the woman would die on Monday.
“The fund he collected before the second tranche of Paris Club loan refund was enough to settle our pension arrears and gratuities.
“He needs to add some money to the fund he just got and that would pay us but he didn’t do that.
“He said the amount of money spent to pay the arrears of July 2015 for workers and pensioners is about N950m whereas they claimed they paid with N 2.6bn.
“During the last two weeks, a huge amount of money was released to Governor Rauf Aregbesola in form of second tranche of Paris Club loan refund N6.314bn, internally generated revenue and PAYE N9.5bn, July 2017 monthly allocation of N5.9bn including refund of federal roads released to Osun State by the Federal Government and a host of others.”