For years, pensioners have got used to regular screening exercises that are accompanied with different forms of hazards. So, when the government calls for another exercise, many, especially those living with disabilities, prepare their mind for another exercise that will come with difficulties.
To their surprise, however, the conduct of the ongoing pensioners, verification exercise in Oyo State is different from what used to be and this turn of events, they say, has added to the respect which they accord the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde.
According to the pensioners, “the exercise is being conducted under the best screening atmosphere in which the pensioners who are truly senior citizens of the nation feel much comfortable, unlike in past exercises where pensioners would faint while in queue under the intense heat of the sun for hours and many would be forced to go back home only to return the following day without getting being screened.”
It was gathered that this time around, the government engaged the services of an experienced and competent consultancy outfit, Sally Tibbot Consulting, which brings in equipment and trained personnel,this making the exercise easy and devoid of stress.
According to the chief executive officer of the outfit, Mrs Sadiat Bakrin-Ottun, the company successfully conducted similar exercise in Niger and Kogi states and will improve on the performance for better results. This assertion was corroborated by the project manager, Mr Banwo Gbemi.
An important aspect is the special care given to pensioners with varying disabilities. Some of this category of pensioners have become blind, crippled and some suffer from dementia as a result of old age, natural causes and trauma from lack of employment and difficulty in getting their gratuities on time.
Pensioners who could not walk were screened inside the vehicles that brought them to the venue. This special treatment for people with disabilities further endeared the pensioners to the government and the process. Mr Obong Kingsly Ufot, the personal assistant to the chief executive officer of the consultancy firm explained that the welfare of the pensioners with infirmities is very important because of their age and their conditions, adding that this category of pensioners had to be verified inside the vehicles that bring them.
Also, the chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Idi Ape unit, who also doubles as the chairman of the Chairmen’s Forum, Pastor Ayo Osuntade, gave thumbs up to the governor and the consultant for making the welfare of pensioners an important aspect of the administration.
He recalled that many screening exercises had been conducted for pensioners in the past, but this exercise surpasses all in scope and in efficiency.
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