Abuja - Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo says his administration is owing only four years of unpaid pensions after settling pensioners’ entitlements for 13 years.
Oshiomhole told the State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday that contrary to the allegation by the opposition, he was not leaving behind a huge liability for his successor.
The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo had alleged that the present administration’s failure to pay pensioners’ arrears might cripple the incoming administration in the state.
"From 1998 when the Army left, to 1999 to 2000, 2001, 2002 up to the end of 2008 when I took over, that was a period of 13 years.
"So, you find a pension bill of 13 years, arrears of gratuity and pension not paid by PDP government including the 7,000 people they dismissed.
"Now when I assumed duties at the end of 2008, I had two options. On the one hand, I had this temptation to say OK I would be paying those who retired during my tenure.
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"But then, as a former labour 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 all the permanent secretaries and did not pay them gratuity, is it the fault of those workers?
"And so, I accepted the fact that government is a continuum. And so whatever they didn’t do, I will have to try to do.
"So, as we speak today, we have paid pension in 1998 and all those who pensioned in 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,
Oshiomhole assured that his administration would settle part of the outstanding four years pensions before handing over power to a new government.