By Suleiman Shehu
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Oyo State on Tuesday dragged Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and five others before an Oyo State High Court in Ibadan over the unpaid N42.3 billion gratuities and pensions arrears owed primary school teachers and local government pensioners.
Joined in the suit were the Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Commissioner for Finance as well as the Accountant-General and the state’s Head of Service.
At Tuesday’s sitting before Justice Maruf Adegbola, the union’s counsel, Lasun Sanusi (SAN), urged the court to direct the Oyo State Government to pay the arrears of the concerned pensioners.
Sanusi said the primary school teachers and local government pensioners were dying almost on daily basis due to difficulty in getting medications for their various health challenges.
The counsel also told the court that an agreement was reached between the state government and the pensioners that the arrears would be paid in instalments, praying that this be made a consent judgment.
He said since the state government was not denying that it was its responsibility to pay the said money, his clients were urging the court to give its judgment.
The counsel also said that other respondents in the suit had been served except Ajimobi, urging the court to grant his ex-parte motion seeking its leave to serve the governor by substituted means.
The counsel suggested that the governor be served through the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, being the chief law officer of the state.
Adegbola consequently granted the ex-parte motion and ordered that the processes be served on the governor through the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
The judge said that the processes and other documents to be filed in the matter be taken to the Office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
He adjourned the case till July 11 for hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that none of the respondents was in court.
NAN also reports that the pensioners, who had trooped to the court, called on the state government to urgently pay their pension arrears and gratuities.
Representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state also attended the court sitting.