On their own: How Osun retirees are denied of their salaries and pensions

Country/area: Nigeria

Organisation: International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 27 Nov 2020

Credit: Samad Uthman

Project description:

The project extensively discusses the throes of the Osun state pensioners who are being denied their salary backlogs, gratuity and monthly pensions for 5 years. The story speaks to to the many succour funds provided by the federal government for the payment of salaries and pensions which the then state government defied and diverted for infrastructure, the waste of fund in the state and the over burden debts owed by state due to how the . The story also discussed the little effort made by the present state government to pay up, but the billions on ground can be cleared

Impact reached:

Four weeks after the publication of the report the report that exposed the travails of the retired Osun pensioners, the state government commenced the payment of owed salary arears to all the primary school retired teachers in the state under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Techniques/technologies used:

I used 4 data reports from Pension Commission(PenCom) on pension remittance compliance by states.

Based on the state in focus, I also check the Nigerian Debt management office website to understand the heavy debt hindering the state from paying salaries and pensions for 5 years.

I also used media reports to track Paris Club funds given to the state government by the federal government. Through field fact checking, I checked all the uncompleted, bogus and irrelevant State project.

Then, I made this into infographics for better understanding to the public.

The result was that, I was able to expose how the state is sitting on debt time bomb which her citizens aren’t aware of. The infographics later became more popular.

Also, I interviewed over 20 affected retirees across the 30 local governments in the state and made a short documentary video of their interviews.

I wrote a script for my designer and he used Figma app to design the engaging infographics. While I shot the video myself, my video editor used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the video.

I used Google sheet to sort all my got data and cleaned them to expose what I needed. This made debt tracking so easy for me and to tell data story in a human angle way.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part of this project is the psychological trauma I went through. After listening to stories of aged people who served the government for 35 years, now been tossed over what they are entitled, I was shattered for days. 

Also, I found it quite tasky to fight injustice with data. But, due to the determination to get justice, i was able to buy the understanding of the public with the infographics and show the state government itself the need to take welfarism of these set of retirees over infrastructure.


This story should be selected because I was able to get justice for the voiceless through available data.

What can others learn from this project?

Firstly, country like Nogeria is still suffering from available of important data which makes many salient issues under reported. But, put the little available into use coupled with human angle narration, the story will make impact.


Also, I understood through the story that people like to get fact in a snippet format like infographics. This helps their understanding and deepen their interest to even read the story.

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