By Amidu Arije
Following its determination to make life easier for its retirees, the Lagos State Government on Thursday engaged some retirees of public service in the state on a two-day training, sensitisation and skill acquisition programme.
The training organised by the Public Service Office, Office of the Head of Service, Post Service Department at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, is meant to equip the retirees with new skills that will make them self sustaining after service.
Speaking at the training, the state’s Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, maintained that the state government has realised the need to ensure that retirees from the state public civil service were actively engaged.
Muri-Okunola, who spoke virtually to the retirees explained that the interactive session was in fulfilment of the promise of the present administration that no one will be left behind in the implementation of the THEMEs agenda, adding that the new format of the interactive session now combines training, sensitisation as well as skill acquisition programmes for all retirees in the Lagos State Public Service.
“It is my honour and great privilege to welcome you all to this auspicious occasion on behalf of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State, and as well express the sincere appreciation of a grateful state, once again, for your labour of love, sacrifice and contributions to the development of our dear state”, he said.
The Head of Service also maintained that the theme of this year’s interactive session “Living a Healthy Lifestyle in the era of COVID-19 pandemic” was carefully selected to reflect on emerging realities in Nigeria and the World at large.
“You will agree with me that since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has not been easy for us as a state, being the epicentre of the unprecedented public health challenge”, Muri-Okunola said.
He also stated that the Federal and Lagos State government have done all due diligence to establish the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. He urged everyone to disregard any rumour or misinformation making the rounds about the danger involved in the vaccines.
“I have been vaccinated and till this moment, I am sound and healthy. I also implore you to note that vaccination is not the end of the pandemic. You are to continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand hygiene, use of face mask and maintaining physical distancing to curtail the continued spread of the virus”, he said.
Highlights of the event include flag-off of the 2nd edition of the quarterly training and sensitisation programme for retirees as well as skill acquisition training in fish and snail farming, soap and germicide production. Also witnessed showcasing of coconut value chain alongside other skills acquisition activities.
The HoS, however, urged all those in attendance to seize the opportunity provided by participating fully in the programme and paying necessary attention to all the details provided by the facilitators in order to enjoy the full benefits of the programme.
Responding to some questions raised by the retirees in an interview the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, Mr. Samson Ajibade, explained steps taken by the government to address pension issues.
He said present administration under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is set to pay pensions as ‘you go’, which means retirees would collect their benefits as they are leaving the service.
Also at the event, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, explained the benefits of skill acquisition in the Coconut value chain to retirees.
He said the agency was looking into other areas of development in generating revenue from coconut to boost the economy of the state.