The Edo State Government has said that it is up-to-date with the payment of pension to retired workers and is currently expending one-third of its personnel cost on pension payments.
Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, who conveyed the State Government’s position on Friday, said: “As a government, we have solved the issue of gratuity for those younger employees by moving them to the Contributory Pension Scheme.”
Nehikhare added: “We are current on pension payment and we are one of the few states in Nigeria that have prioritised regular pension payment.
“We harmonised the pension and increased pension due, and as a government, we are not owing gratuity. However, we inherited unpaid gratuities which the previous government failed to pay.
“By the way, we also make available N100 million monthly to pay gratuity to those retirees with serious medical challenges. We paid over N1 billion last year.
“Considering the timing of the protest by some pensioners who used to engage with us regularly on pension matters, we are constrained to believe that the protest was politically instigated and carefully choreographed by some politicians who created the problem in the first place”.
According to the Commissioner, “what it appears the pensioners are asking for is that we should not grow and expand the workforce by employing younger people into the public service”.
He stressed: “Our government has always been open to dialogue and decent engagements but we will never submit to blackmail and intimidation.
“We will continue to do only that which we believe is right and invest prudently to make Edo State Great Again”.