We can reveal that of the 50 permanent secretaries in the Cross River State College of Retired Permanent Secretaries, who are owed various sums of monies and recently took the state government to court, one, Ebri Usani Eteng, mni, former Permanent Secretary in the CRS Ministry of Information, has passed on, bringing the number, in the College, who have so far died, to 13.
Information available to www.calitown.com show that the deceased who died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, Calabar and his colleagues had over a spate of four years made four written representations to government, but those written representations appear to have remained unattended to for reasons that we were unable to unearth at press time.
“When Gov. Ayade came on board, we wrote him a letter to the effect that we were owed several sums of monies as entitlements, the response we got was vague. After that letter, we have written to the state government a record four times and nothing was done. It was on the strength of this that we took the matter to court and I am so pained that someone like Ebri, who worked tirelessly for this state, alongside several others will have to go through this kind of harrowing experience and still not be paid his legitimate entitlements. Maybe if he your state government paid him and several others this money, his days on earth may have been longer”, one of the Permanent Secretaries bitterly told www.calitown.com on the heels of the demise of his colleague.
“See, several Cross Riverians have endlessly called on the Cross River State Government to show compassion and pay the backlog of entitlements owed retired civil servants in the state, it is very embarassing that while the state government has been slow to react, death is reacting quicker, taking an unfortunate toll on a greater number of those retirees, with visible uncertainties still in the way”, another aggrieved retiree said.
Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo, contacted and notified about this situation, expressed surprise at this unfortunate situation to www.calitown.com, pleading that “immediately the governor returns to the state, something visible will be done. When I raised the issue with him, he was equally surprised. I believe that these crop of men deserve to be accorded respect and not abandoned to this kind of fate”.
But Wofai Ewa, deputy governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the last general elections, appears to punch holes in the submission of the Speaker. Ewa, whose late father, Okoi Ikpi Ewa, belongs to the College of Retired Permanent Secretaries, is sad that government appears insensitive to the plight of these retirees. He maintains too that in the run in to the last elections, “I made a lot of noise about this unfortunate situation and the Speaker cannot now express surprise and claim ignorance of this very shameful situation. This situation is not and has never been a hidden one. My late father like his colleagues, gave his all serving this state, his health failed him while waiting for his entitlements and he passed on. His financial entitlements are still with the Cross River State Government, will he ever get paid?”.
George Odok Jnr, journalist and News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, correspondent in Calabar, reacting to the passing on of the deceased wrote that, “…this is very sad! Now, another Paris Club refund of N649 billion is to be shared among states. Will Ayade pay gratuities and pensions with part of this fund?”. It is a question we are unable to provide answers to.
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