From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State announced Thursday that state workers will now retire at the age of 60 years, regardless of whether they have put in 35 years in the state civil service, abolishing the initial maximum age limit in service policy.
Oshiomhole made the announcement while delivering his speech to mark Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary.
He described the 35 year age limit as obnoxious, saying that there was no reason for the state government to continue with the policy which in his view punished experience and forced many civil servants to forge their ages in other to perpetually remain in service.
“This year I have seen a lot of young people, still strong and hardworking, and we have lost them because they had to retire because they have put in 35 years even when they were not 60 years old. I have seen some people retire at the age of 55, some even at the age of 44 because they started working at the age of 20. Consistent with our commitment to reforms, and interrogating every public policy that we inherited, I am convinced that this policy is no longer in the interest of the people of Edo State and certainly not in the interest of workers and employees in the public service,” the Governor said.
He said, however, that if any public official should choose to retire earlier, that will be seen as a voluntary retirement and will be accordingly be granted.
Oshiomhole added, “It is my hope comrades that with this policy, we recognise that whatever we are trying to do has a purpose and ultimately there is only one thing that is important to us, ensuring that in all that we do, we keep our eyes on the board and taking Edo to the next level by ensuring we get value for our money.”
Appreciating the governor for this gesture, the chairmen of the Joint Negotiating Council, Shaka Otoide and the state branch of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Emmanuel Ademokun, thanked him for bringing another innovation to the service and the entire Edo State workers.
“The Comrade Governor is the only State Governor in Nigeria that has given Level 17 to workers. He was also the first to implement the new minimum wage. Now he has again shown that he is the best worker-friendly governor in the country by abolishing the 35 year retirement policy,” Ademokun said.