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Pay us our gratuity, Our Members are dying – LG retirees Pleads State Govt.

The Association for the Welfare of retired
Local Government Staff has demand that
the gratuity as owed to its retirees from
2009-2014 be paid immediately without fail.

In a press release jointly signed by
Chairman and Secretary, Board of Trustees of Association for the Welfare of Retired Local Government Staff, Akwa Ibom State, Elder Emmanuel Usoro and Obong Imo Udoiweh and made available to THE INK on Wednesday, noted that civil servants and other public servants in the State Government Service receive their retirement benefits not later three months after retirement, but Local Government retirees are living in abject poverty, financial misery and penury.

The Association frowned at the insensitivity to the plight of the helpless retirees, whom some have died due to financial incapacitation, insolvency and bankruptcy, adding that if the arrears had been paid together with the gratuity could have helped the retirees revamp their battered financial situation and stay alive even as they maintained that they are dying of hunger due to inadequate allocation to the pension Board.

According to the release, “we are calling on the government of Akwa Ibom State, as a matter of urgency to release the 2.5% mandatory monthly pension counterpart funding of the gross personnel emolument of the 31Locval Government’s staff since year 2010 to date amounting to about N1.44 billion to the Local Government Pension Board and that the State Government should release the 7.5% counterpart funding of. the contributory pension scheme amounting to N4.14 billion deducted at source from funds of the 31 Local Government in the State and custodied by the office of the Accountant
General before the scheme was reversed early last year 2014″.

Further, the release added that the State Government should as a matter of urgency ensure the upward review of the monthly allocation to the pension Board from 15% to 25% because it is envisaged that between 2015/2016 the bulk of Local Government Employees who were recruited 35 years ago
will be due to retire and more funds will be needed to take care of their retirement benefits even as the Association draw the their notice of the intention to sue vide with reference number MDU/SC/31/2014 dated
8th July,2014 earlier served on her matter and reiterated that if the Government of Akwa Ibom State remains adamant, retirees of the 31 Local Government will explore other available options to get their pension arrears and gratuity, paid with interest.

The release reads in parts, “The State
Government ensured that it never afforded the Local Government Staff of the services of pension Administrators. For many years, the money so deducted was stashed away without bringing any dividends to the contributors. Secondly, there is no lawful reason why this money should be kept away any longer for whatever reason from their legitimate beneficiaries. For this reason, the
Association demands immediate refund
staff as it is their legitimate money”.

The release also added that inadequate
funding to the pension Board and their
inability to sustain the existing tempo of the regular payment of pensions owing to the increase in number of retirees will definitely bring a crisis situation which will further impoverish and cause the retired staff to starve and die of hunger more and more.

In conclusion, the release maintained that they have made effort to resolve challenges facing them as more than 54 of our members have died while waiting for their benefits and many more are suffering and expecting to die if immediate help does not come to them.

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