A twenty-six-year-old man has protested the non-payment of gratuity to his late father.
He took the protest to the Governor’s office in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
The lonely protester, Mr. Joseph Odey arrived governor’s office in the afternoon of Wednesday and displayed his placard with inscription “Your Excellency Please pay gratuity, my family is distressed”.
Speaking to newsmen, the lonely protester said, “I am at the Governor’s office today to bring attention to the non-payment of my late father’s benefits and gratuity after he had put in 32 years of faithful service to the state and died as a school principal a few months before he was due for retirement.
“The weight, pain and suffering of my family is getting out of hand, and I am becoming more depressed seeing my family suffer on a daily basis, I am the first son and first child, I can’t bear to watch my siblings and poor mother suffer anguish like this.
“Following the sad death of my father, I commenced processing the paperwork for payment of his benefits, completed it in 2017 and received official approval in January 2018. 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.
“My two immediate younger sisters at different levels of study in the University are on the verge of dropping out, while the third that 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 to kindly let my family have the chance to lead a decent life by giving the authorization for us to be paid.
“I will be here with my placard every day, come rain or shine, until the approval is given or else I will take the easy way out, because I can’t stand this pain and shame for too long.”
In a swift reaction to the protest, Ayade’s Chief press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita stressed that Government had cleared 2013, adding that government was warming up to commence payment of 2014 backlog of arrears.
“We have cleared 2013 and we are paying in batches, we inherited gratuity and we are clearing them as soon as possible. Everyone affected will be paid.
“We are currently paying 2014, we will get to everyone because we are offsetting the backlog in batches,” he stated.