By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
AGAIN, the next-of-kin of retired primary school teachers in Akwa Ibom State have lamented the non-payment of their entitlement by the State government.
They particularly appealed to the state government to release funds for payment of unpaid pensions and gratuities of living teachers from 2011 to 2018 as well as
the refund of 7.5per cent pension contribution.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr Benson Benjamin, who spoke yesterday when they converged at Wellington Bassey way Uyo, roundabout leading to the government house, protesting the non payment of their entitlement and non harmonisation of pensions.
The protesters carried a bold banner with the inscription, “Deacon Udom Emmanuel Save Our Soul (SOS), The Agonies of Widows/Next of Kin of Primary School Teachers in Akwa Ibom State,”
Addressing newsmen during the protest Benjamin expressed disappointment that of the N33billion the state government owe retired Primary School teachers, it has been able to pay only N1billion few months.
His words: “These people (retirees) served for 35 years, they deserve their entitlements. And today we are telling the governor to take the responsibility and pay these people their entitlements, we are asking him to do the needful. We want the state government to take the bull by the horn and pay the entitlements.
“If we go back today without a positive response we will come back on September 23, to press further our demands and you know what that means. Things are so expensive, we cannot afford house accomodations.
“Last year the state governor said we should conduct verification exercise, and after the exercise it was discovered that the governor was owing over N33billion and the governor thereafter released a paltry N1billion, which was not enough”
Benjamin wondered why retired primary school teachers would be deprived of their entitlements after 35years of working whereas government officials don’t wait after they retire to receive their.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Samuel Billy said he believes that state government has the funds to pay retired Primary School teachers, but has remained it reluctant to do the needful to ameliorate their sufferings