Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo has dismissed the allegation that his administration’s failure to settle accumulated pension arrears will cripple the incoming administration in the state.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo had alleged that the outgoing Adams Oshiomhole-led administration had failed to pay pension arrears for years in the state, and hence might be creating problems for the incoming administration.
Oshiomhole, who was fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja, however, said that contrary to the allegation, his administration had paid nine years of pension arrears in the state.
“From 1998 when the Army left, to 1999 and to the end of 2008 when I took over, that was a period of 13 years.
“So, we found a pension bill of 13 years, arrears of gratuity and pension not paid by the PDP government including the 7,000 people they dismissed.
“When I assumed duties at the end of 2008, I had two options. There was this temptation to say that I would be paying those who retired during my tenure.
“But, as a former labor leader, I asked myself that if an employer was so callous to carry out massive retrenchment of workers as the PDP did by sacking 7,000 and permanent secretaries and did not pay them gratuity, is it the fault of those workers?
“So, I accepted the fact that government is a continuum.
“So, as we speak today, we have paid all those who pensioned in 1998 and 1999, all the ones they dismissed in 2000 and those who retired from 2001, 2002, 2003 up to 2011.
“So, I have paid pension arrears of 13 years even though I have been in government for only seven years plus.’’
The governor maintained that having cleared 10 years pension and gratuities arrears, only four years were outstanding.
Oshiomhole assured that his administration would settle part of the outstanding four years pensions before handing over power to a new government.