The birthday celebration of Governor Udom Emmanuel was marred today by protesters comprising local government workers under the aegis of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and pensioners over nonpayment of their salaries and gratuities.
Confirming the event, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ekerete Udoh, in a statement, said “Earlier today (July 11, 2016) a tiny group of obviously sponsored set of local government workers and pensioners staged a protest demanding the payment of their salaries and pensions. We want to state here categorically that Akwa Ibom State Government does not owe workers salary and has intervened regularly in the payment of pensions and gratuities to the local government pensioners.”
“Shortly after Governor Udom Emmanuel assumed office May 29, 2015, he paid a ten-year backlog of pensions and gratuities to both the teachers and local government employees. Touched by the gesture and kind-heartedness of the governor, the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Teachers Union had separately written letters of appreciation to Governor Udom Emmanuel, thanking him for his magnanimity.”
“This gesture by the governor was done, not minding the fact that the payment of pensions and gratuities to local government workers and teachers is sorely the responsibility of local government councils.”
The statement further said “Just last Friday- July 8, 2016 Governor Emmanuel again had intervened by making funds available to pay for one month of pensions to the local government workers. It must be stated here, again that it is not the responsibility of the state governor to pay salaries and pensions of local government employees. The payment of salaries and gratuities to teachers and local government employees is the sole responsibility of the local government council.”
“We wish to reiterate here that the 2015 elections is a settled affair and Governor Udom Emmanuel has been working hard to meet the obligations of the people in spite of the paucity of funds. He has gone the extra mile to ensure those workers’ salaries and emoluments are paid on time. Akwa Ibom it bears repeating is one of the states in the country where workers are not owed salaries.”
“Governor Udom Emmanuel will not be detracted from the task of providing superior performance and bringing home the beacon to the people of the state, for which he was massively elected to do, on April 11, 2015,” the statement concluded.