The Oyo State Government has commenced payments of pensions and gratuities of retired primary school teachers as well as local government workers across the state.

The State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney -General, Mr Seun Abimbola, made the disclosure during a news conference in Ibadan on Tuesday.

Abimbola said the sum of N1.5 billion had been released for immediate disbursement to retirees across the state, saying such step would be repeated on quarterly basis till the entire debt was settled.

He explained that the decision was part of resolutions reached by a sixteen-member committee set up to resolve the legal impasse between the state government and pensioners which resulted in a consent judgement by the Industrial Court.

Abimbola, who noted that the accumulated arrears had begun since 2008, said government would be committed to gradually offsetting the outstanding arrears while fulfilling its monthly obligations of pension payment to retirees.

He noted that a biometric data capturing of pensioners had also commenced to forestall cases of ghost pensioners and double payment.

In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Bimbo Kolade, said that about 1100 pensioners would benefit from the first tranche of the N1.5 billion.

The commissioner added that the payment covered  both the dead and the living.

Mr Bosun Ajuwon, the Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter, said the councils had agreed to contribute about N750 million on quarterly basis.

He said that the contribution would be used for continous payment of pensioners apart from the N1.5 billion which was being paid currently.

Mr Olusegun Abatan, Secretary, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) and beneficiaries,  expressed appreciation to the state government and the 16-member committee that resolved the impasse.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee set up to resolve the crisis between pensioners and the  state government was headed by Dr Bashiru Olanrewaju, Permanent Secretary, Minisrty of Information, Culture and Tourism. 

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