By Dennis Udoma
UYO – Families of deceased teachers in Akwa Ibom on Monday, embarked on a peaceful protest demanding payment of arrears of entitlements of dead relations by the state government.
The protesters numbering about 200, under the Association of Next-of-Kin of Late Primary School Teachers (ANKLPST), demonstrated at Government House Gate, Uyo protesting government none responsiveness to the families of dead civil servants.
The peaceful protest which lasted for several hours according to the group leader, Mr. David Essien, was to draw the governor’s attention to the condition of the retired teachers.
Essien, lamented that they had written several letters and negotiations, to no avail after the dead teachers had served the state government for 35 years without gratuities, pensions and other benefits.
According to him, “Some of the dead teachers served and retired as far back as 1991, yet nothing to show for services they rendered for the State before they died.
Also, Mr. Nsima Akpan disclosed that, his mother, Magdalene, who served for 35 years as primary school teacher at Government Primary School, Mbiabam Ibiono in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area but died three months to her retirement was yet to be paid her gratuity or pension.
Vanguard also gathered that, the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan had earlier briefed the Governor on the modalities to settle the problem.
“The issue had long been registered in her office but, the outcome of the meeting with the HoS would address some of the issues’’, the source said.
State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Etim Ukpong said, he was disappointment as the state government could not respond to the problem of late teachers despite their interventions.
He said that, “the state government instead of resolving issues that bother on workers welfare, would rather sponsor blackmailers against the labour movement in the State”.
The NLC boss however confirmed that, the issue the late teachers orchestrated by their siblings had since been forwarded to the Governor for approval but that, the union was yet to get a reply from government.
Ukpong, who is also the state Chairman Nigeria Union Teachers (NUT), frowned at the situation the state government could not identify priorities of the people.
He maintained that, the labour movement had recently advised the state government to use part of the money received from the Paris Club to sort out issues of workers’ pensions and entitlements.
“I cannot stop any aggrieved person or group of persons from protesting for their right, because we have done our best, said Comrade’.
‘‘The government does not seem to appreciate our effort to mediate and, the same government is even trying to rubbish labour leaders; they are not even communicating with us, said Comrade Ukpong”.