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Saturday, November 18, 2017.

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Nigerian News » Politics

Deceased teachers’ relatives seek payment of gratuities

Next of kin to dead primary school teachers have protested at the secretariat of the State Universal Basic Education over the non-payment of their late parents’ gratuities since 1991.

 The protesters in Uyo on Thursday accused the state government for the misuse of the Paris Club refund released to states by the Federal Government for settlement of arrears of salaries owed civil servants as well as pensions and gratuities to retirees.

 According to them, the state government, instead of paying the next of kin of the dead retired primary school teachers, rather pay only the living retirees their pensions and gratuities.

 They bore placards with different descriptions like ‘Pay our entitlements – Next of Kin’, ‘Pay from N14.5bn Paris Club refund’, ‘Where is the Paris Club debt refund money?’, ‘Who owes the death? No more politics with us’, ‘No more excuses, all we are saying is give us our rights’ among others.

 A statement from the protesters and made available to newsmen, indicated that the state government in 2014 singled out the retirees, who were living and paid them while those of the death had been left behind.

“We have been screened and given letter of administration and given time to be paid. Rather than being paid, what we later learnt from the state pension board was that our files were not find.

“Last year, we sought audience with the Head of Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan in her office; she sympathised with us and promised that something would soon be done. But up till date, nothing has been done,” the statement noted.

 When asked, one of them, Eno Kenneth, said, “We want the state government to tell us what the first batch of Paris Club refund given to the state was used for. Now that the FG has released the next batch of the refund, we want to know what the state government stand is.

 “We have embarked on consistent protests over the years, demanding for payment of our late parents’ pensions and gratuities because it is our legitimate entitlement.

“But it appears that the state government does not have the interest to pay us, otherwise it would have listened to our plights rather than sending the police to arrest and detain our members.”

Addressing the protesters at the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Raphael Bassey, Commissioner 11, commended them for being peaceful in their action.

Bassey added that the board was already aware of their problem and was putting everything in place to ensure that all the grey areas being experienced in compiling the lists of all pensioners in the state are addressed.
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