ABOUT 1,005 senior citizens have died in Kwara State since April 2015 as a result of unpaid pension allowances according to the Kwara State Local Government Pensioners Association.
lsiaka Akanbi, the chairman of the association, said the victims, who cut across the 16 local government councils of the state, died as a result of their inability to get adequate health care attention. Like most of Nigeria’s 36 states, Kwara struggles to pay salaries and pensions and many of its staff and retirees are owed huge backlogs of arrears.
Stakeholders in the state, while decrying the death of the pensioners, described the trend as sad and unacceptable. While urging relevant authorities to urgently effect the payment of the pension arrears to the senior citizens, Mr Akanbi said no fewer than 3,000 of the pensioners were unable to buy drugs for their ailments.
Mr Akanbi added: “We have suffered unprecedented discrimination since Governor Ahmed came to power in the state and we are senior citizens who deserve fair treatment. The number of our members who have died is the greatest in comparison with any other sector in the state.”
Governor Ahmed’s senior special assistant on media and communication, Dr Muyideen Akorede, said the governor was saddened by the plight of the local government pensioners. He blamed the drop in federation account allocations for the non-payment of the pensions, adding that the state government was considering strategies to assist them within its available resources.