BusinessDay

Succour for retired primary school teachers in Akwa Ibom

…as state govt raises committee for payment of entitlements

Succour is coming the way of retired primary school teachers in Akwa Ibom as the state government has raised an eight-member committee for the payment of their entitlements.

The committee which has been inaugurated by Effiong Essien, head of service of the state, is also to ensure “a fool-proof and hitch-free process in the payment of entitlements to retired primary school teachers and next-of-kin of those deceased”.

The eight-man committee has the Permanent Secretary, State Universal Basic Education Board, Ezekiel Umoh, as chairman, while the Permanent Secretaries, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Ekaete Ekanem, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ini James Ikie, and their Local Government Service Commission counterpart, Abasiekeme V. Essien, are members.

Other members of the committee are Idim Uwatt, Chief Accountant, Office of the Accountant General; the chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress, Sunny James; chairman, Forum of Primary School Teachers, Felix Cookey, while Doris Ikpuho, an assistant director, Office of the Head of Civil Service, is to serve as secretary.

The committee which has two weeks to submit its report is also expected “to verify the service records of living and dead retired primary school teachers in the state, calculate the entitlements of the affected retirees, and to the segment as appropriate the beneficiaries for payment”.

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Inaugurating the committee in his office, the Head of Civil Service, Effiong Essien, reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing all outstanding labour issues.

He explained that Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has demonstrated this by the holistic nature these issues have been handled by the Government-Labour Committee.

Essien used the forum to express his appreciation to the state governor and other stakeholders for the concern, effort and arrangements put in place to end the protracted issue of the retired teachers/next-of-kin entitlements payment.

He, therefore, charged the committee to ensure that the payment exercise is a continuous one.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, the chairman, Ezekiel Umoh, who is also the permanent secretary, State Universal Education Board, thanked Governor Emmanuel for his sincere concern for teachers’ welfare and for making funds available for the payment.

He also commended the Head of Civil Service for his concerted effort, and the commissioner, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Frank Archibong, for his initiative and cooperation in making funds available for the payment.

He assured of the committee’s commitment to delivering on its mandate.

Responding to questions, Etim Ukpong, chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers in the state, expressed happiness over the decision of the state government to set up a committee to pay the retired teachers their entitlements.

“Yes, it’s a positive development arising from years of our struggles. We are happy, almost like children, that the government eventually has agreed to work on the issue,” Ukpong said.

The payment of retired primary school teachers has been contentious with the state government claiming that it is the responsibility of local government councils to handle the payment of their salaries and other benefits.

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