Monday 11th July, 2016 was Governor Udom Emmanuel’s 50th birthday but due to untold hardship in the state, he received an unpleasant birthday gift as Pensioners under the Local government employ in Akwa Ibom blocked the entrance of Government House, protesting the non-payment of their over five years gratuity by the state government.
The pensioners in their thousands, marched along Wellington Bassey Road, near Government House, Uyo, calling on the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to approve the release of payment of their gratuity, outstanding since 2012.
Speaking to Journalists, the State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Mr Effanga Ettah, bemoaned the attitude of the state government to their plight. He said that some pensioners in the 31 local government areas of the state had not received their gratuity, which he said had caused untold hardship to the elderly citizens.
He said that pensioners in the local governments had also not received their monthly pension since March this year.
“Local government pensioners stay months before their monthly pension is paid. This is due to the poor funding by the Pension Board.
“We believe that the State governor in his good gesture will approve the payment for the arrears”, Ettah said.
Mr Victor Attai, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who spoke, said that Federation Account was not enough to pay workers and pensioners’ monthly entitlements. He said that government was not unaware of their plight, especially those in the local government area, and appealed to them to bear with the government.