By Emmanuel Una & Ike Uchechukwu
THE Pensioners in Cross River State have decried the non-payment of their gratuities and other benefits since 2014.
The Chairman of Cross River State chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Dr Eyo Eyo, also lamented the delay in payment of their monthly pension, saying: “As I speak to you, (February 24, 2022), many of us are yet to receive January pension. Not up to 50 per cent of us have received alert for January pension. I can categorically tell you that this trend is across major banking platforms. We are still on the waiting game, it has not changed.
For gratuity, the N50 million that was supposed to be kept aside as pronounced by Governor Ben Ayade, has not been forthcoming because of an ordinary memo.
“The former Head of Service, HoS, was unable to raise a memo to that effect for the N50 million to be approved and kept aside as the governor had pronounced. However, we believe that the new HoS, Ogbang Akwaji will do the needful because he is very efficient.”
Speaking, the Chairman of the state council of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Monday Ogbodum, while corroborating the NUP chairman, explained that the N50 million which was supposed to be set aside for the payment of gratuities, has been stalled due to the inability of the immediate past HoS to raise a memo to that effect.
Ogbodum said: “The N50 million was part of the promise made by the governor in the MoU we signed that N50 million would be set aside monthly to offset gratuity owed pensioners since 2014. We believe the new HoS has taken care of that memo issue and the money will be set aside for the purpose it was meant for as agreed.”
Lamenting her plight, Mrs Lydia Okon, who retired as Deputy Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, said she had been collecting her pension “a month after civil servants and political office holders have been paid. For gratuity, nobody is telling me anything since I retired and applied for the payment of my gratuity three years ago.”
The Cross River State Accountant-General, Mr Joe Adie, said the government was working out modalities to pay retirees’ gratuities as ordered by the state governor from the N50 million being set aside monthly for that purpose.
According to him: “We are not falling behind in the payment of gratuity as all pensioners recieve their pension at the end of each month while modalities are being worked out to pay gratuity to them from the N50 million set aside for that purpose.”