By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Thousands of retirees from Cross River State on Wednesday rose from a stakeholders meeting and vowed to drag the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade to court if he falls to pay them within one month.
Speaking on behalf of the retirees, Comrade Jacob Usang, ” we know that government has other responsibilities and projects to execut, but the welfare of citizens should be taken seriously in order for them to continue to contribute to the development of the state, even as retired workers”.
They said “as governor Ayade tries to put food on pensioners tabl s, retired workers also need the “fruits of their labour”on their tables”.
They called on government to as a matter of priority help retired workers to benefit from their slogan of “rest is sweet after labour”..
According to them, “failure to meet this demand within one month, retirees will be left with no option than to take legal action against government of Cross River State”.
Government, they argued should realise that in the next few years the number of civil servants that will retire from service will be so much that if the tally is not reduced now, many more people will continue to suffer”.
They said “the untold hardship being experienced by retirees in the state should be urgently addressed, because apart from illness and death of retired workers, their family members and other dependants need relief. As we speak many are on sick beds and their monthly pension allowances are not enough to take care of them.”.
They said ” retirees have a right to longevity of Life service and should not be frustrated to die a short while after retirement due to ill-health. Most of them are still training their children and wards in various institutions”.
“Gratuity is a right, a clear evidence where all blue and white papers have been approved and duly signed for payment over five years ago”, they added.
In her remarks, Mrs. Theresa Abang condmned the delay in the payment of their pensions and gratuity.
She commended former governors Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke for been steadfast in the payment of pensions in the state.
Said she”is it a curse to serve as a civil servant in the state or federal”?.
Earlier, messrs Paul Idiagu and Iso Edim Iso, had appealed to the state governor to direct the payment of their pensions and gratuity.
They commended the Organised labour for all their efforts in ensuring that the right thing is done but to no avail.
Also Mrs. Ochala Veronica, said pension and gratuity is a right and those who merited it should be paid.
She described as sad the current situation of retirees in the state since 2014 till date.
Also speaking, a retiree of the New Nigerian newpapere in the South South, Comrade Vitalis Ugoh, had said members in the zone had commenced a one week hunger strike to drive home the non payment of their pensions and gratuity.
He said”some of us have remained unpaid since 17 years ago and nothing seems to be on sight.
He commented President Muhammadu Buhari for his passionate concern in the case of retirees and appealed that he should intervene in the case of New Nigerian Newspaper retirees
Said he ” so many people have died and more are dying. Please Mr. President save our soul and direct the managers of Pension Transition Administration Department (PTAD) to pay us”.