Isaac Job, Uyo
Retired Primary School teachers and next of kin of their dead colleagues at the weekend staged a protest March in Uyo, and later gathered at government House to registered their grievances against the state government for non payment of their gratuity, pension arrears and other benefits even to dependants of their dead colleagues.
The protesters numbering over 2,000 retires including next of kin of departed colleagues carried placards with inscriptions such as, “Udom pay us our entitlements,’ our gratuity, “pension arrears and death gratuity to next of kin, 7.5% contributing pension money deducted from salaries are not refunded to us as was agreed to be refunded at retirement,”
“is it wrong for us to be a teacher”?, “Governor Udom who taught you? Is it not teachers”? “Before you become what you are today, is not a teacher”? Etc.
Some of the placards were directed to the governor such as “His Excellency Udom Emmanuel, you forgot that your father was a teacher and is one of us,” “don’t disregard teachers, nor treat us this way.”
In an interview, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom retired Primary School teachers Rev. Felix Ime cookey, said that since government is continuity the retired primary school teachers are owned gratuity since 2010 till date,
pension arrears are owned ranging from ten (10) months and above, death gratuity are not paid to the next of kin since 1991 till date. 7.5% contributing pension money deducted from their salaries are not refunded to us as agreed to be refunded at the retirement
Speaking further, Cookey recalled that in attempt to pay this money, there have been series of screening upon screening, verification upon verification, submission of Bank Statement time without number and all manner of documentation all to no avail.
“We are tired and we are very hungry and our families are suffering” the last pension we received was for the month of October 2018 uptill now nothing is forth coming,
no money for new year for our children, school has resume, Udom did not boarder what we pass through during the festive period cookey notes.,
Cookey said that the peaceful protest became necessary because after series of meetings with the state government and with the head of Civil Service some years ago,
We were asked to wait that the state government will forward their list to facilitate payment through bank and till now nothing has been done in that direction.
According to cookey, we have worked for Akwa Ibom State government and retired therefore there is no justification for this in human treatment on us in a state that received the highest monthly allocation from federal government
and also one of the state that received the highest refund of Paris club fund refunded to state for payment of gratuity and salaries arrears
Cookey revealed that already in the course of the struggle to get Justice, most of the affected retired Primary School teachers have lost their lives.
Even the promotion interview that was conducted early 2018 but the form interview reflected early 2016 the result would have been out by now for implementation but of no avail.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Association Elder Obong Effiong Utip Jnr. Said they would not sit back to see the government destroy their profession, we will do all we can to demand for our right and to defend the profession
“The federal government did it to Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) they signed several agreements with (ASUU) and did not fulfil it.’
“Therefore we would not relent until we have put things in place in education sector not to collapse.”
Elder Utip added that, contrary to the claims in the media by the State Government through the Head of Civil Service Mrs. Ekere Obobng Akpan that primary school teachers have been paid as such claims were not true.