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Pay our gratuity after 12 years, retired journalists beg Akeredolu

The retired journalists and other staff members of the Owena Press Limited, publishers of the Hope newspapers owned by Ondo State government, have appealed to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to pay their outstanding gratuity of over 12 years.

Chairman of the Forum of Retired Staff of Owena Press, Mr. Banji Ayoola, in a statement, said the non-payment of gratuity has turned many of them into beggars in their old age.

Ayoola, who retired as the Editor, revealed that the forum had first wrote a letter of appeal to the governor in 2019 but they were not paid despite the letter being acknowledged. He added that the health challenges of members of the Forum had worsened over the years.

The statement reads in part: “It is sad and saddening that there is nothing merry in the ongoing festive season for our members, many of who are wallowing in penury and battling age-related illnesses.

“It is sad that many of those who faithfully and meritoriously served the government and people of Ondo State in their productive years are now left to the vagaries of life in the evening of their lives.

“I can tell you that about six of our members have died of sicknesses that are easily treated if money had been available, while some are bed-ridden and unable to help themselves.

“Many have resorted to selling off landed and other properties in order to keep body and soul together, while others who have little or nothing to fall back on have been reduced to the indignity of begging.

“Our hope was raised when the governor promised to offset gratuities and pensions from the recent bailout, but it now seem that our hope was misplaced.

“We are, once again, appealing to the government to help us and bail us out of penury and wasting away alive.

“Our case is especially pathetic as staff of the organisation are not entitled to pensions; all they get is the gratuity which has now gone unpaid for over a decade.”

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