UYO – The Nigerian Union of Pensioners in Akwa Ibom State on Monday pleaded with the State Government to pay pensioners their gratuity and other entitlements from 2005 to date.
The pensioners, who were retirees of Local Governments, protested in front of the Government House with placards reading; “It is not a crime to work in Local Governments Councils.
“Our counterparts in the state civil service do not have issues with their entitlements after retirement.
“Since 2005 to date, we have not received our entitlements.
“This is a state that earns more than almost all the states in the country and the pensioners are not paid their gratuity.
“Pay us our gratuity and entitlements before we die.
“Treat pensioners in Akwa Ibom State in an uncommon way because we are running an uncommon transformation here,’’ the pensioners said.
The Chairman of Local Government Pensioners in the state, Chief Effanga Ettah, said that over 80 per cent of the members had not been paid their entitlements since 2010.
Ettah said there were also cases associated with non-payment of gratuity from 2005 to 2009, adding that their counterparts who retired from the state’s civil service were paid as and when due.
He said that Local Government pensioners stayed up to two years before their normal monthly pensions were paid to them.
“Our arrears amounting to millions of naira is still pending,’’ Ettah said.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Emmanuel Udom, who addressed the pensioners, sympathised with them over the delays experienced in paying their entitlements.
Udom promised to enhance the work of the committee constituted to harmonise the pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants, both at the state and Local Government levels.
“I am going to work with the committee that is handling the issue so that we can arrive at a point where everybody will be satisfied.
“I want to assure you as my parents that by coming today, I will make sure that I put myself as a member of that committee so that I will see how we can work faster to address your demands.
“I feel what you are feeling because I have a father who is also a pensioner. The governor is a father too, and he has the interest of everybody at heart.
“It is not going to be an empty promise; so please give us some time to work things out,’’ he said. (NAN)