Revealed: Opposition parties hijack pensioners protest in Akwa Ibom


13 Jul 2016

Revealed: Opposition parties hijack pensioners protest in Akwa Ibom

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Barely 24 hours after pensioners in Akwa Ibom State besieged Wellington Bassey Way, the road leading to the Akwa Ibom State Government House, in protest of their unpaid pensions and gratuities by the state government, our reporter on Tuesday, gathered that opposition parties in the state may have hijacked the demonstration with the aim of distracting  the Government of Mr Udom Emmanuel.

A source believed to be of the major Opposition All Progressives Congress(APC) told our reporter that the party had been out to fault the Udom’s administration at any slightest opportunity so as to portray the government in bad light before the Federal Government and the general public, following the loss it suffered after the Supreme Court verdict which confirmed Mr Udom Emmanuel as Governor of Akwa Ibom in December 2015.

The source who would not want to be named alleged that top officials of the party in the state, at the weekend, met behind doors with the leadership of the Association of the Welfare of Retired Local Government Staff and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners to “organise the protests on the governor’s birthday”, with a promise of gratification if the protests are successful.

Those primarily alleged to have been behind the protest could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, but they were said to have been sported at the time.

READ ALSO: Fani-Kayode attacks Buhari and the entire ‘APC‎ losing party’

On Monday, The pensioners, who marched along Wellington Bassey Way, near the Government House, demanded Governor Udom to approve the release of payment of their outstanding gratuities and pensions.

On Tuesday morning,  the Association of Next of Kin of Dead Primary School Teachers thronged Wellington Bassey way for another round of the protest.

Earlier,  the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs,  Victor Antai, during a live broadcast on Inspiration FM Radio in Uyo, Tuesday, said the  administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel does not owe workers and pensioners
except those who have issues with their Bank Verification Number (BVN).

He said the Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy Affairs was working round the clock to ensure that pending arrears are cleared.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom State Government does not owe salary of workers

He dismissed the claims that workers in Akwa Ibom State were owed salaries and pensions, saying, “payment of teachers is a responsibility of local Government councils and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)”.

“Governor Udom Emmanuel inherited a backlog of pensions and gratuities and as a caring Governor, he has paid ten years of the backlog debt owed the pensioners. They should exercise patience because Udom cares for their welfare”, Antai said.

In his reaction , the spokesman of the APC, Mr Ita Awak dismissed the allegation, describing it as a silly rumour.

Mr Awak, in a phone conversation with our reporter , Tuesday evening, said no such thing exist.

READ ALSO: A’Ibom pensioners protest non-payment of 5 years gratuity

“APC is not in any way related to what is going on. If people are protesting at all, it is Akwa Ibom people protesting legitimately for the failure of the sixteen years
PDP government in Akwa Ibom state to pay their entitlements”, Awak  said.

News Source: KillerPunchNews, 9jaTales

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