Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, said on Tuesday that his administration had released N1.2bn gratuity arrears to retired local government workers and primary school teachers in the last 15 months.

Oyebanji, who bemoaned the plight of the categories of pensioners waiting for their gratuities for years, said his administration would correct all such by ensuring speedy payment of their gratuities.

The governor, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, while presenting gratuity cheques to retired local government workers and primary school teachers, assured the pensioners that more of them would soon get their dues following his increase of the money for monthly gratuity from N50m to N100m.

He said, “It is important to place on record that we have paid N1.214bn as gratuities to 377 retired local government and primary school teachers since the beginning of this administration. Our target is to get everyone covered; and with God on our side, we will not rest on our oars until it is achieved. Rest should, indeed sweet after labour.

“As regards the March to September 2018 arrears of your pensions, we are closing in on settling them. We have so far cleared three out of seven months. I am assuring you that the remaining four will soon be cleared.”

Oyebanji said the government was making efforts on peace and security to boost the attraction of the state to investors for sustainable economic development in the areas of industrialization, employment generation and wealth creation.

He advised beneficiaries to expend the gratuities on things that would add value to their welfare and well-being to compensate for the long period of waiting.

The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Chief Folorunso Olabode, who said that the Oyebanji administration had been paying N580m as pension monthly since 2022, lauded the governor for increasing the monthly gratuity payment to LG and primary school retirees from N50m to N100m.

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ekiti State Chapter, Mr Joel Akinola, who lauded Oyebanji for his love for pensioners, expressed confidence that the backlog of arrears of retired LG and primary school teachers would soon be cleared.

Akinola appealed to retirees to embrace the free health services specially designed for pensioners by the current administration, saying this is a way of elongating their life expectancy and putting their health in proper shape.

The NUP chairman said, “Our members have passed through the valley of the shadow of death. I have never seen any state where governor released cheques to pensioners every month for gratuity payment. This gives us a lot of hope. We especially thank the governor for his concern about us”