Public servants who retired from Akwa Ibom government are yawning as hope of collecting their gratuity before the expiration of Governor Udom Emmanuel administration is bleak.
This is as the state government had, Monday, September 13, begun payment of April 2016 to retired public servants comprising civil servants and teaching and non-teaching staffers in secondary schools in the state.
Majority are yet to collect their gratuity as backlogs pile up from May 2016 to August 2021.
Straightnews team visited Office of the state Accountant-General, Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo on Tuesday, September 14, and discovered that two flexes detailing 255 names of the pensioners for April 2016 were pasted outside the fence opposite State Universal Education Board (SUBEB).
The team saw marketers from different commercial banks milling round the premises soliciting patronage from the pensioners.
The pensioners were presented with cheques on Monday, September 13 after a brief ceremony at the ICT Resource Centre of the Accountant General’s office, Uyo.
The state Accountant-General, Mr. Uwem Andrew-Essien while briefing journalists shortly after the event in his office said the Governor approved the release of eight hundred and seventy five million naira for the payment of this batch of gratuity.
Andrew-Essien, a pastor advised other retirees and their next of kin who were unable to tidy up their documents prior to Monday’s payment to do so as soon as possible, in order to benefit from the entitlement.
The Accountant-General noted that the gesture was a demonstration of the commitment of the present administration to the well-being of her employees both serving and retired.
He assured retirees who are yet to be paid to exercise patience as the payment is done in batches due to paucity of funds.
Reacting, some beneficiaries thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promise on giving welfare of workers a priority it deserves, thus rekindling their hope of living long.
However, Straightnews stumbled on the card of a retired Chief Nursing Officer on Grade Level 14 from the local government service commission bearing: ‘’I have collected N5,134 million gratuity.’’
Straightnews probe showed that the pensioner has not collected the gratuity, though the message is boldly written and her passport and signature are engraved on the card.
The pensioner who did not want her name in the press lamented over the ‘development’ and vowed to table the matter before her union for redress to guard against denial of her right.
More investigation is ongoing to unravel the reason for this strange development from the government.