Obaseki Approves N1.2bn For Ex-staff Of Defunct Colleges Of Agric

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FROM IKHILI EBALU, BENIN CITY 

Edo State government has commenced the screening of over 326 former staff of defunct Colleges of Agriculture in Iguoriakhi and Agenebode.

Addressing journalists in Benin City, the Permanent Secretary/Chairman of Edo State Pensions Bureau, Wellington Abbe said Governor Godwin Obaseki approved the payment, following the restructuring exercise carried out in the institutions.

Abbe stated that the restructuring exercise commenced in 2018 a massive reorganisation at the colleges. 

The reorganisation affected about 326 workers who were disengaged from service, leading to a series of agitations.

Speaking on the issue yesterday, Abbe said “recently, Governor Obaseki approved payment for all the 326 disengaged staff of their pension entitlements. This is exactly what we are doing now. What this means is that 326 ex-staff will now be paid entitlements based on the number of years each one of them put into service. In all organisations or workplaces, there are extant rules that guide procedures on what happens when such reorganisation takes place.

“At the two colleges of agriculture, we took into cognisance staff who had put in 10 years and above, whom the extant rule approved payment of five years of their pension in addition to their gratuity. Those who have put in ten or five years and nine years and eleven months are entitled to the payment of five years and no gratuity. Of course, all these are guided by the rules.”

Abbe explained that the final lap of what is needed to be done so as to finally settle the 326 workers would be done so that they could move on with their lives.

According to him, “The total amount involved is about N1.2 billion and that is the approval His Excellency gave. We intend to start making this payment in four trenches. This is the first part of the payment. Before the year runs out, we will do the second batch, then early next year, we take the third, and of course, the fourth.”

Reacting to the development, one of the former staff, Comrade Paul Ogbebor commended Governor Obaseki for keeping to his promise, noting that the payment would bring relief to them.

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