By Maxwell Effiong
The Association of Cross River State Local Government Pensioners, ACRSLGP, has accused the State Government of insensitivity towards pensioners’ plight.
Mr. Peter Ozar, Secretary of the Pensioners union, made this known to our correspondent in an interview where he revealed that the union lost seven members during the 2019 verification exercise and is owed over 13 billion naira in gratuities from 1991.
The Secretary maintained that, only retirees in the State Civil Service have been paid gratuities up to 2013.
“For the Local Government pensioners, it is a mirage because the bill as at today is over 13 billion naira.” Ozar who spoke on behalf of the Chairman, Bassey Okosin told this paper adding that, “As at today Local Government pensioners are in dilemma because some of them are living on drugs, others have health challenges.
“We are calling on the Cross River State Government to come to the rescue of these pensioners before they would all die and their next of kin who did not work will come and collect their entitlements,” he lamented.
Furthermore, he divulged that ACRSLGP had in June this year, compiled and presented the list of outstanding liabilities in respect of arrears of pension and gratuity for the period 1991 to 2019 to the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey-Ekpo for onward submission to Governor Ben Ayade.
The Pensioners union Secretary maintained that the State Government under the leadership of Sen. Ben Ayade is yet to respond to this list meant to ameliorate the sufferings of pensioners in the verification exercise.
According to him, “ACRSLGP had written the House of Assembly asking that the office of the Auditor General of Local Government Affairs, be made to pay compensation and a condolence visit to the families of those seven pensioners who lost their lives to the 2019 verification exercise, which was adjudged vindictive.”
As at press time, our newsroom is contacting the office of the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and Auditor General of Local Government Affairs for comment.