In keeping with his avowed resolve to interface with local government administrators on pending issues of pension and gratuity arrears of retired primary school teachers, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has successfully secured a fixed allocation from the local government authorities for payment of outstanding entitlements.
The State Head of Service, Elder Effiong Essien made this known on Tuesday, January 14, while speaking in a Live Radio programme.
The Head of Service maintained that as a Talk-and-Do Governor who keeps to his words, Governor Udom Emmanuel had to engage local government officials to secure 3% monthly allocation from the joint State/Local Government Accounts Allocation Committee to offset the outstanding pension and gratuity arrears of retired primary school teachers in the state.
Recalling that the unpaid pensions and gratuities of the retired primary school teachers formed the bone of contention of a section of the Next-of-Kin of late Primary school teachers who undertook a peaceful demonstration late last year, Elder Effiong Essien said Governor Emmanuel wasted no time in swinging into action with the Local Government authorities to intervene on the lingering issues of arrears.
He recalled that Governor Emmanuel had in the last quarter of 2019 sunk in heavy amount of money, worth millions of naira in the payment of 4,461 serving and retired workers’ entitlements, including pensions, short-paid salaries and promotion arrears.
Elder Essien who emphasized that the Governor does not take workers’ welfare lightly but addresses their issues with passion and compassion disclosed that, at the moment, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has cleared the arrears of salaries of all the workers employed by the state government in 2015 – a feat he said, is highly commendable.
Speaking on the attitude of ingratitude expressed by few labour leaders towards the magnanimous gesture of the state Governor, the Head of Civil Service said, he has a burden of undertaking attitudinal re-orientation for workers to change their mindset and make them learn to appreciate and see government and governance in a positive light.
On the outcry by the remaining 2000 teachers who could not scale through the re-examination conducted for the 5000 teachers purportedly employed by the past government, Elder Essien said employment is a continuous process and advised those who were not engaged at that time to exercise patience and wait for another opportunity when vacancy will be declared.