Ekiti pensioners launch N10 million welfare fund for distressed members

[FILES] Chairman of the forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi

Pensioners in Ekiti State yesterday officially launched a N10 million welfare fund to cater for both state and local council retirees who are in distress.

The pensioners, acting under the aegis of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), said the scheme was not done out of pity but initiated to demonstrate their solidarity and empathise with members in distress.

The NUP Chairman, Ayo Kumapayi, who stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, explained that the welfare fund was meant to cater for members of the union who were medically or physically distressed.

“It is a fund designed to ease the discomfort of our disabled and bedridden local council and state pensioners. It is a way of alleviating their sufferings.

“It is the union that is funding it. We have provided N10 million and N5 million for each sector of the pensioners and we have already issued cheques of N50,000 each to 80 pensioners. It is a union activity just to identify with our members.”

Kumapayi hailed Governor Kayode Fayemi for giving priority to regular payment of pensions and gratuity since coming to power in October 2018.

Meanwhile, Fayemi, who was represented by his deputy, Bisi Egbeyemi at the launching, said his interest in the welfare of the senior citizens was the motivation behind the re-launch of the social security scheme for the aged, otherwise known as “Owo Arugbo.”

He added that the food bank initiative of the First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, also known as “Ounje Arugbo,” was aimed at giving succour to the elderly people and giving them an opportunity to live comfortably in their old age.

According to him, placing premium on pensioners’ welfare by his administration was responsible for setting aside N100 million monthly to clear the backlog of gratuity arrears to give the retirees a new lease of life.

The governor gave assurance of regular payment of pensions, workers’ salaries and clearing of gratuity arrears.

He said: “We have consistently paid workers’ salaries alongside pensions, bearing in mind that payment of salaries and pensions will boost the economy of the state.

The Iyalojas will have increased patronage and rents would be paid as and when due to landlords.

Fayemi, who encouraged the leadership of NUP in the state not to relent at improving the standard of living of its members, described the welfare scheme fund as a rare and exceptional initiative.

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