By Patrick Obia
The Cross River State Government has taken responsibility for the sufferings of pensioners in the State.
After hours of vehicular restrictions and calling for the sack of the State Auditor General, Mrs. Franca Inok, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey arrived and pleaded, saying they (Government) take responsibility for their predicament. She ordered the exercise to commence immediately with those from the Northern Senatorial District.
Earlier, the pensioners provoked and barricaded Murtala Muhammad highway, Calabar for over an hour because the reverification exercise was postponed to the next day, Tuesday after waiting for hours.
Furthermore, Mrs. Odey while pleading with the senior citizens assured that, there will be no backyard business in the process as everyone will be paid their entitlement.
According to her, “We say sorry for everything that has gone wrong. We take every blame as Government but I want to you to understand something that, the Government is very sensitive to the plights of pensioners.
“I always feel bad to see our mothers and our fathers suffer, I feel heart broken because I have mothers and fathers that are like you. We are truly sorry if we have offended you in any way but I want to tell you that it will stop. We as Government have come to say whatever that has gone wrong we are sorry, we are making amend.
“If you have not been screened there is no way you can be paid, that is why we are saying come and do screening so that we can capture you as pensioners.
“As I speak to you, your October salary is in the bank and by today you will start receiving alerts. Cooperate with us so that you will be paid. The issue of gratuity has been raised, we are looking into it.
“We are going to take ten people at a time so that we can screen you adequately. For those of you that came from far, we are very sorry. We are going to start with those from Obudu and Obanliku.
“For people that are claiming they haven’t earned salary for five months, it is a very simple thing, if you have been screened we are going to pay a backlog of salaries and that is what we are even doing.
“There will be no backyard business that is why we are doing on the spot screening, you come yourself, we don’t do screening on proxy. If you are here we take down your name, we know you are living and alive; there is no backyard business.” She promised.