A young man, Joseph Odey, on Wednesday embarked on a one-man protest at the governor’s office in Calabar to call attention to the plight of members of his family over the non-payment of his late father’s gratuity and death benefits.
The 26-year-old man, who carried a placard with the inscription ‘Your excellency please pay gratuity. My family is distressed’ told journalists that he could take his life if the gratuity was not paid.
“I’m at the Governor’s office today to bring attention to the non-payment of my late father’s (Anthony Odey) benefits and gratuity after he had put in 32 years of faithful service to the state and died as a school principal of Government Secondary School, Ebo in Yala few months before he was due for retirement.
“Following his sad death in 2015, I commenced processing the paperwork for payment of his benefits, completed it in 2017 and received official approval in January 2018.”
He said, “After waiting for another year and no payment was made to my family by the government, I approached the Accountant General of the state about the matter but he told me that no payment was being considered and that there is a backlog of pending payments stretching back to 2014, all awaiting the Governor’s approval.
“Following this disclosure, I attempted several times to bring the Governor’s attention to the issue but all messages to that effect were unanswered. My family has been facing hard times since the death of our father who was the breadwinner.”
Joseph further narrated that “My two immediate younger sisters at different levels of study in the university are on the verge of dropping out while the third who passed WAEC and JAMB exams this year faces an uncertain future due to our financial incapacitation.
“I make this public appeal to Governor Benedict Ayade, Your Excellency, kindly let my family have the chance to lead a decent life by giving the authorization for us to be paid.”
He vowed to continue his protest, saying “I will be here with my placard every day, come rain or shine until the approval is given or else I will commit suicide.”
Reacting to the protest, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita said “We inherited gratuity from 2013. We have paid the backlog for 2013. We are now paying that of 2014. It is being paid in batches. It takes processes to pay death benefits and gratuity. Since he has processed all the papers it will soon. It is a function of the availability of money.”
Signup for FREE news updates, latest information and hottest gists everyday