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Ondo workers protest pension scheme

Ondo state governor, Olusegun Mimiko

The workers say they do not trust the government to contribute its own quota to the scheme.

Government activities were on Monday disrupted for many hours in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as civil servants in the state staged a peaceful protest against the bill on Contributory Pension Scheme sent to the State House of Assembly by the Governor, Olusegun Mimiko.

The workers locked all government complexes and offices as early as 7:30 a.m., thereby denying government business from taking off on the first working day of the week.

They, thereafter, occupied the State House of Assembly complex on Igbatoro road, Akure, in protest against the recently forwarded bill on the pension scheme by the governor.

The workers in the state civil service had, last week, threatened to block every road leading to the Assembly and ensure that there was no access to the venue of the public hearing on the bill, which was slated for Monday.

They had vowed to use every legal means within their jurisdiction to fight government, including grounding all government activities if what they described as “hurried and forceful commencement of implementation of the scheme” without their consent, was not reversed.

The workers stated in a letter written by the Joint Negotiation Committee, JNC, that the scheme was a fraudulent means of enslaving the entire workforce in the state.

In the letter titled ‘Are we safe In Our Own State?’ they accused the Office of the Head of Service of the state of colluding with the state government to enslave the entire workers.

The workers said the circular issued by the state government on March 4 showed the true colour of the present administration in the state. They also accused the present government of not being genuinely disposed to workers welfare.

They said the law establishing the scheme allows it to be domesticated by each state with input from stakeholders, especially workers in the state public service.

The workers, who expressed skepticism about the genuineness of the state government on the scheme, called on the government to show proof of evidence that the employer (government) was fully prepared to pay its own monthly share of the contribution as well as the actual valuation before implementation could commence in the State.

They said this was necessary to avoid a scenario where employers in some states allegedly did not only refuse to pay their own share, but embezzled the amount contributed by workers.

Addressing the workers at the Assembly premises, the Ondo State Head of Service, Toyin Akinkuotu, said the contributory pension scheme is contained in a Nigerian law that was enacted in 2004 to assist all Nigerian workers to save towards their retirement day.

“We are proposing that Ondo State will now constitute their own Pension Commission which will coordinate every other existing pension board in the various state agencies and organisations,” he said.

Mr. Akinkuotu pleaded with the labour union saying government’s proposal on the scheme would take off as soon as the economy of the state improves. He also promised that the government will be faithful.

He said government would pay its own 12.5 per cent quota as provided for in the law.

Culled from :Here

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