UYO – The Akwa Ibom State Government on Friday said it was now ready to pay all arrears of pension to retired local government workers.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Uwem Etuk, said this in Uyo while briefing the state House of Assembly Committee on Human Rights and Public Petitions.
Etuk said that all pensioners would receive their pension because the state government had increased the ministry’s monthly allocation for such payment from N60.5 million to N123 million.
He assured that with the increment, the ministry was now in a position to pay all arrears owed local government pensioners.
Etuk, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Effiong Abia, said that the number of pensioners had increased above the budgetary provision since 2009.
Reacting to the development, the State Secretary of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Chief Cosmos Essien, said that the union had petitioned the State House of Assembly on the matter.
Essien commended the commitment of the House Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions in finding solutions to the plight of the pensioners.
“We are very happy to hear from the commissioner and the Accountant General that money for our pension arrears have been approved by the Joint Account Committee.
“We are pleased that at the moment the gap has been bridged; we are grateful to the people’s House of Assembly,” Essien said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights and Public Petitions, Mr Ekong Sampson, said that the House of Assembly was committed to making life meaningful to pensioners.
Sampson, who is a PDP member representing Mkpat Enin Constituency, said that the House of Assembly was working on an enduring framework to resolve pension issues permanently.
The legislator commended the Gov. Godswill Akpabio for responding to the plight of pensioners promptly. (NAN)