Sick Grandma to Lagos Govt: Pay my N1.9M pension arrears before I die

By Bose Adelaja

She retired as Principal at Morogbo Primary School in Agbara, Lagos State on November 1, 2000 after 30 years of meritorious service at the Lagos State Department of Education.

According to Ms. Abidoye Gladys Wuraola, life was promising for some time until she suffered a stroke in 2018 and the situation has since changed.

The 82-year-old pensioner is now appealing to the Lagos State Pension Board to pay her the sum of N1,940,854, which is her unpaid pension arrears since 2008.

The grandmother, who is currently battling a stroke, said she used all of her income to treat herself. Unfortunately, her situation still requires medical attention, one reason she is requesting that the pension arrears seek further treatment.

Due to her health condition, Eso Street resident Aradagun, Badagry could not be heard to narrate, which suddenly led to her public outcry, but Vanguard was able to learn some details with professionalism.

She said she voluntarily discharged herself from the hospital due to lack of funds and vowed to not rack up debt.

Before she was struck by a stroke, she had sought out both her employers and the Lagos State Pension Board individually to clear the arrears, but efforts appear to have been unsuccessful.

In an emotionally charged voice she said:

“I retired as a special education director at the Lagos State Department of Education in November 2000 and everyone was fine until a stroke struck in 2018.

“Help me appeal to the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Pensions Board to pay my arrears while I am still alive.

“Since July 2004 I have received my salary and my first pension payment, after which the pension arrears have been paid to my colleagues who retired at the same time as me, but mine has been withheld to this day.

“I have made several attempts to get my residue but all attempts have been unsuccessful. I have written several letters and all have been acknowledged by the board secretary but nothing has been done.

“The pension arrears were calculated and approved by the Pensions Board examiner in 2008 (she showed Vanguard some evidence) but went unpaid for several years.

“None of my letters have been answered since, until late last year, when my son and my lawyer filed a complaint about the reduction of my monthly pension from forty-six thousand eight hundred and eighteen naira (N46.818.05) to thirty thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight naira, seventy-four kobo (N30.958 ,74).

“The Executive Director of the Lagos State Pensions Board, Ms. Alao Adeteju, told me that I was overpaid; therefore the unpaid annuity was deducted from the deductibles I had received.

“I therefore appeal to the state government to please come to my aid before I die, as I am old, hopeless and ill.

“On December 31, 2009, a sum of two million two hundred and fifty one thousand five hundred and twenty naira (N2, 251,520) was credited to my bank account but was also debited on the same day without my consent.

” I suspect foul play; It seems someone stole my 48-month pension arrears and they’re just trying to cover it up,” she said.

Efforts to get the state government side of the story were unsuccessful as various spokespersons for the Lagos State Pension Commission, Local Government Pension Board and Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board were contacted by this reporter, but none could come up with a solution for offer the allegations made by Ms Abidoye.

However, Ms Tokunbo Ekon of the Lagos State Pension Commission was able to shed more light on the fact that Ms Abidoye is on the old Local Government Pension Board system while the State Pension Commission is dealing with the new contributory pension system that was introduced in April 2007 .

This story has been moved to hear the government side, unfortunately none of the staff contacted could offer a solution.

It is sad that Mrs. Abidoye Gladys Wuraola passed away a few days ago.

Her son broke the news of his mother’s death to Vanguard.

He appealed to the Lagos state government to look into the matter.

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