By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel said while it is the right of any group of persons to carry out peaceful protest to draw government attention to any matter of public interest which government has failed to do, any of such act with intention to embarrass or create disaffection against the state government will no longer be tolerated.
Governor Emmanuel stated this in Uyo while reacting to the recent demonstration in the state by local government pensioners who staged a protest to Government House in Uyo and blocked entry to and fro the premises for hours.
The Governor who expressed his anger over what he described as unpatriotic behavours by the pensioners whom he also alleged were hired crowd of elderly men and women who came to the streets just to create disaffection in the public against his administration.
“Those people were not pensioners; they were hired group of men and women. Intelligence report has it that they were paid a paltry N2,000.00 to N3,000.00 just to come to the streets and embarrass the state government,” he stated.
Pointing out that his administration owed no obligation to local government pensioners in the state, Governor Emmanuel said “payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities of local government employees are the responsibility of the local government not state. What we do is that we engaged on intervention on monthly basis signed by all LGA to enable the payment of salaries because of the low revenues that cannot pay the salaries.”
The Governor who wondered why people of such ages whose wise counseling and wisdom should be of value to the society, had allowed themselves to be used by those whose stock in trade is to create unhealthy distraction and destroy the state government.
He however warned that the state government henceforth would ensure that the law would take absolute cause against anybody or groups of persons who carry out streets protest in the state under any guise without the permission of the police. Enough is enough, he warned.
It would be recalled that thousands of local government pensioners in Akwa Ibom state last week, took to the streets of Uyo, the state capital urging governor Udom Emmanuel to look into their plights by paying their owed pensions and gratuities without further delay.
The pensioners cutting across all categories of workers, who were drawn from the 31 local government areas of the state, demonstrated their anger carrying placards with various inscriptions and blocked the entrance to the governor’s office for hours.
In a letter signed by their state chairman and secretary, Obong Effanga Ettah and Mrs. Uduak Udahaya respectively and address to the Governor Emmanuel, appealed to him to reward kindness for kindness having enjoyed their support during his governorship campaign.
The incident which coincided with the 50th birthday anniversary of Governor Emmanuel was viewed by the state government as not only embarrassing but illegal protest just to cast aspersion on Governor Emmanuel administration as insensitive.
By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.