Pay N32b Gratuity Arrears From FG’s Refunds On Roads- Advises Ex-LG Boss

Aniekan Akpan
Aniekan Akpan

After five years in power, the Udom Emmanuel administration has claimed it inherited N32 billion as gratuity arrears from the past administration.

Governor Emmanuel had told media professionals a fortnight ago at Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo during a chat, but he did not inform them the exact amount of gratuity he has paid since assumption of office.

Against this claim, Mr. Aniekan Akpan, a one-time Chairman of Eket local government area, wanted the governor to clear the N32 billion allegedly owed retired public servants from the N80 billion collected as refunds spent by the previous administration on Federal Government’s roads.

The Federal roads reconstructed by the Godswill Akpabio administration from 2007 to 2015 included Ikot Oku Ikono-Ekit Itam, Abak-Ikot Ekpene and Abak-Etim Ekpo-Iwukem, Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Roads.

In September 2019, the Ad-hoc Committee on Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance of the Nigerian Senate had stated that N78.7 billion was recommended to the Federal Government for refund to the Akwa Ibom government for the Federal roads, though Straightnews has not confirmed payment of same to the state government.

Speaking in Inspiration 105.9 FM, a privately owned radio station in Uyo on Thursday under Team Nigeria Classic programme, Akpan said if Governor Emmanuel has used N32 billion to clear the arrears to pensioners instead of castigating his predecessor, he would be left with N48 billion from the refunded amount for other development purposes.

It is believed that most pensioners in the public service are being owed gratuity from 2016 till date despite the collection of more than N40 billion as Paris Club refunds by the state government.

Akpan, however, kicked against the policy of the present administration in spending on development projects without stating or mentioning amount or giving the contractor time frame for completion and hand over of the projects to government.

He specifically spoke against delay in the construction of Eket Sports Stadium, Eket-Atabong Road and Eket-Uyo Road, calling on the state government to direct the contractors to complete them on time.

The All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain, speaking in the radio programme sponsored by Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, emphasized the need for the government to be transparent in its dealings for the public to repose greater confidence in it.

On the internally generated revenue, he praised Emmanuel administration for stepping up the state revenue profile to more than N3 billion monthly, and called for accountability in all forms.